As the end of the year approaches and the pre-season friendlies draw closer, here’s twenty-one complete predictions for 2017 (inspired by @zerotackle).
Top Tackler: There’s only one man that springs to mind when the award top tackler comes about, and that’s Man of Steel winner Danny Houghton. If he remains fit throughout the 2017 season, nobody will beat his tackle count.
Top try scorer: England international Jermaine McGillvary was the top try scorer in 2015, and with Denny Solomona leaving for Union, the Huddersfield player will regain his spot at the top.
Top Forward Try Scorer: Despite being named as Wigan’s number 14, John Bateman loves to score a try and will be the top forward try scorer in 2017, slowly followed by St Helens’ Louie McCarthy-Scarsbrook.
First red card: Not a single player picked up two red cards in 2016, but hot-head Gareth Hock returns to the Super League with Leigh and will undoubtedly receive multiple red cards in the upcoming campaign, including the first.
Best recruit: There have been plenty of quality recruits from both the NRL and from Super League sides alike, but Sam Williams looks set to have a big season under Chris Chester at Wakefield trinity.
Worst recruit: With James Roby owning the number nine jersey at St Helens, Kieron Cunningham’s signing of Tommy Lee from Salford will likely see the player get limited time on the field in 2017, making him the worst recruit.
First Coach Sacking: Early coach sackings have been recently rare in Rugby League, with limited options for back ups. But Kieron Cunningham will have a lot of questions to ask if his side gets off to a losing start in 2017, and he will be the first coach sacked in the upcoming Betfred Super League season.
Top Moment: Like 2016, 2017 will have plenty of memorable moments. One moment that will be remembered for time to come will be halfback Matty Smith kicking the winning drop-goal against previous club Wigan Warriors in the Easter derby to claim the Saints a victory.
Worst Moment: Performances from referees seem to be the most talked about factors following fixtures, and 2017 will see more time wasted on video referees, which will see more televised games get later and later, leaving more unhappy fans.
Surprise Team of the Year: Catalans, Hull FC and Leigh have all made some solid signings for life in the Super League next year, however Wakefield will be the surprise team of the year. With the likes of Miller and Williams controlling the side, Grix and Mason-Caton Brown in the backs and Kirmond leading the forwards, Chris Chester’s side will make top 6 next season.
Slow Starters: Despite fans being behind the coach, Rick Stone’s Huddersfield still have various gaps needing to be filled within the squad for 2017 and with pre-season already underway, they will have a slow start to next year’s campaign.
Rick Stone, pictured above, will be destined for a slow start to the 2017 campaign