Super League XVIII preview

Last Updated: 01/02/13 9:07am

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Sky Bet

There is no better way to welcome in February than the return of Super League. The only thing that seems certain is this - expect the unexpected.

The Rhinos once again ruled in the play-offs last year, winning the Grand Final for a second successive season and for a record-breaking sixth time since the move to summer rugby.

So, can Leeds secure a treble? Will Warrington - the side beaten in the final at Old Trafford - go one better in 2013? Or will St Helens or Wigan be the ones celebrating after a short trip to Manchester?

There are some familiar faces in new places; ex-Huddersfield coach Nathan Brown is now in charge at Saints, Gareth Hock has swapped reigning minor premiers Wigan for the side that propped up the rest last year, Widnes, where he will play alongside brother-in-law Kevin Brown.

Another England star has been welcomed back to the competition in Gareth Ellis, his arrival at Hull giving renewed hope that the Black and Whites can crack the top four after a busy winter recruitment drive.

The Warriors may have lost Hock, as well as Brett Finch and Thomas Leuluai, but they do still have Sam Tomkins, who starred alongside Sir Bradley Wiggins in the 'Hardest Sport In The World' promo ahead of the new campaign.

Once again the Etihad Stadium will be the venue for Magic Weekend in round 12, with four matches on Saturday May 25 and then a further three taking place the following day at the home of Manchester City.

This season skysports.com will also be offering fans the chance to have their say on the action in an online blog every Friday night, which will run alongside the television coverage of live matches. Sky Sports certainly has all the angles covered as we prepare for battle to commence once again...

To find out when you can see your team this season - click HERE

TEAM-BY-TEAM GUIDE (click on the names to read full previews)

BRADFORD BULLS
The Bradford Bulls may not have been in the play-offs for four straight seasons now, but most importantly of all they are still alive and kicking in Super League...

CASTLEFORD TIGERS
It was not an easy first year in charge for Ian Millward at the PROBIZ Coliseum, but he will hope to have the new-look Tigers roaring for the new campaign...

CATALAN DRAGONS
Trent Robinson left the Dragons in rude health. Now new boss Laurent Frayssinous will look to continue the upward curve of the Catalan team...

HUDDERSFIELD GIANTS
Paul Anderson had the chance to get his feet under the table at the end of last year - now he has to find a way to get the Giants ticking for an entire season...

HULL FC
The arrival of a host of new names, including the marquee signing of Gareth Ellis, means Hull FC will want to be more than just contending for the top eight...

HULL KR
It has been a busy off-season at Craven Park, and coach Craig Sandercock will be hoping some of his NRL recruits can help his plucky Robins soar back into the play-offs...

LEEDS RHINOS
After adding to their squad in the winter months and with their play-off record, few would bet against Leeds making it a hat-trick of titles...

LONDON BRONCOS
Tony Rea's return last year sparked an upturn in fortunes for the Broncos, who will now hope to carry on where they left off in 2012...

SALFORD CITY REDS
After a turbulent winter that saw the club face the serious threat of going to the wall, Dr Marwan Koukash's money gives cause for optimism in Salford...

ST HELENS
It was an eventful first season at Langtree Park, including seeing one of Super League's greatest ever finishes and the demise of one Australian coach before the arrival of another...

WAKEFIELD WILDCATS
The Wildcats were one of the success stories of last season, claiming a place in the play-offs after a remarkable run of form at the end of the season. They will be hoping to do the same again in 2013...

WARRINGTON WOLVES
They say familiarity breeds contempt. Warrington will be hoping that isn't the case after making no new additions to their squad during the winter months...

WIDNES VIKINGS
After finishing last season in last position, Widnes will hope that two big-name signings will help propel them up the standings in 2013...

WIGAN WARRIORS
Wigan have had to deal with a number of big-name departures during the off-season but still have enough quality to be considered Grand Final contenders...

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