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Super League: Rhinos eager to end Saints' winning run

The 2022 Super League campaign is just weeks away, and rugby league fans do not have long to wait before their teams take to the field.

It's set to be a huge year in 2022 for the 13-man code, with the World Cup bringing the campaign to a close in England.

In what is to be a landmark year for the sport, reigning champions St Helens will hope to make history as the first team to win four successive Grand Finals.

The Saints, 15/8 to win the Grand Final again, have managed to win three on the spin, with Kristian Woolf guiding the club to the last two trophies.

Saints may have controlled the British game for the last three years, but an old rival will fancy their chances of cutting the gap this season.

Leeds Rhinos, the only other side to win three Grand Finals in a row, have recruited heavily in the off-season, and Richard Agar's men are hoping they can soon become Saints' primary challengers.

Leeds' recruitment leading the way

After upgrading their Headingley Stadium, the Rhinos have had to watch their cash flow in recent years, but the last few months were like the Leeds of old.

Leeds, 15/2 to win the Grand Final, managed to prise James Bentley away from St Helens, and he is widely regarded as one of the best forwards in the game.

Bentley is still young and could be at Leeds for years to come, as could David Fusitu'a, who joined from New Zealand Warriors.

Leeds' recent issues with the ball in hand could also be a thing of the past, with halfback duo Blake Austin and Aidan Sezer signing from Warrington Wolves and Huddersfield Giants respectively.

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Leeds also managed to trim their squad and, while losing Konrad Hurrell and Luke Gale is a blow, they have improved their team on the whole.

Jamie Peacock, a six-time Grand Final winner with Leeds, claims his old club's transfer business has put them in the frame for a title challenge.

He told Sky Sports: "I think Leeds Rhinos are going to really challenge this year. They've made four fantastic signings.

"The Saints side at the moment is absolutely brilliant with three finals and three wins in a row. But I think they're going to get challenged by Catalans and Leeds Rhinos - I think it's going to be those three."

Returning Walker to give Leeds a huge boost

It's a cliche, but the return to fitness of Jack Walker will feel like a new signing for Leeds this season.

Walker was on his way to becoming one of Super League's best fullbacks when he got injured two years ago, but his off-field issues have derailed his progress.

Walker has suffered from various injuries, but he is back fit for the first time since November 2020. His return gives coach Richard Agar a selection headache, with Richie Myler now able to play further forward at hooker if needed.

Leeds will need the likes of Wigan Warriors, Catalans Dragons and Warrington Wolves to drop away this season, but they now look like a serious challengers when it comes to silverware.

Leeds' fans have had to grit their teeth in recent years as the likes of Wigan and St Helens lifted trophies, but a first Grand Final win since 2017 looks a real possibility.

Agar's side face Warrington Wolves in round one and if they can keep Bentley, Sezer and Austin fit, they can compete with anyone in Super League.

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