Wigan coach Shaun Wane has shaken off the favourite tag ahead of the new season – and he reckons Warrington will again prove to be the team to beat in 2017.
The arrival of stars Thomas Leuluai, Joe Burgess and Morgan Escare – and with little headline-grabbing recruitment elsewhere – has prompted many bookmakers to tip the Warriors to defend their Grand Final crown.
Wane is confident with the squad he has assembled but expects the Wolves to lead the fierce opposition.
He points to the signing of stand-off Kevin Brown, as replacement for Chris Sandow, as well as forwards Mike Cooper, Andre Savelio and ex-Warriors prop Dom Crosby.
“I’m a big Kevin Brown fan,” said Wane. “Warrington will change how they play because he’s different to their style.
“He’s quality. I thought Warrington were outstanding last year and he’ll make them stronger.
“They were the benchmark, they were hard to beat, they reached two finals and won the League Leaders’ Shield, which is better than what we did. ”
Official Super League sponsors Betfred price Wigan at 5/2 favourites, ahead of Warrington (3/1), St Helens, Hull FC (both 9/2) and Leeds (8/1).
Many of the top clubs have only tinkered with their existing squads.
Wane added: “We’re in a different position, because we had so many players injured last year, it feels like I’ve got 10 new signings!”