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Super League: Which team has done the best business?

The 2022 Super League campaign will get underway on Thursday, but which teams have done the best business during the off-season?

St Helens look set to be the team to beat once again, as they go in search of a record fourth-successive title, but with many of the chasing pack having strengthened, it could prove one of the most competitive seasons to date.

Have Saints strengthened?

There is no doubting St Helens have been the best team in Super League over the last three years, with Kristian Woolf's side having added a third-successive title thanks to last year's narrow 12-10 success over Catalans Dragons in the Grand Final.

Much of Saints' recent success has been built on keeping the core of their squad together, although that has not proven the case during this off-season, with James Bentley, Kevin Naiqama and Lachlan Coote among the big names to have departed.

Woolf has moved quickly to replace those players, with Curtis Sironen helping fill the void left by forward Bentley, Konrad Hurrell replacing Naiqama at centre, and youngster Jack Welsby set to fill the boots of Coote.

James Roby's decision to remain at the Totally Wicked Stadium will also be a boost, the veteran hooker having signed a contract extension last August to take him into his 19th season with his hometown club.

The 36-year-old may see leading Saints to a fourth-successive Super League title as the perfect way to sign off from his playing career, with the reigning champions 15/8 to end 2022 as Grand Final winners once again.

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Catalans looking to go again

The chasing pack will be determined to end St Helens' recent dominance this season, with 2021 League Leaders' Shield winners and Grand Finalists Catalans Dragons aiming to go one better than last term.

Steve McNamara has bolstered his squad with the acquisitions of Dylan Napa and Tyrone May from the NRL, while even the notable departure of James Maloney over the off-season has not been felt as keenly as it might have been, as he has been replaced by his former Sydney Roosters and New South Wales teammate Mitchell Pearce.

The Dragons look a stronger outfit than they were last season and can be backed at 11/2 to land a maiden Grand Final success, while they are available at 7/2 to clinch the League Leaders' Shield for the second year in a row.

Warrington and Wigan appear stronger

Warrington Wolves lost just five games during the regular season in 2021, but they were unceremoniously dumped out of the playoffs at the first hurdle by Hull KR - a disappointing way for coach Steve Price to bring his tenure to an end,

Former Castleford Tigers coach Daryl Powell has replaced Price at the Halliwell Jones Stadium and he has wasted no time in bolstering his squad, bringing in exciting wing Greg Minikin from Hull KR.

Scrum half George Williams will also feel like a new signing after joining from Canberra Raiders midway through last season, with the England star likely to prove key to Warrington's 7/2 hopes of claiming Grand Final glory.

It has been all change at Wigan as well following a disappointing 2021 that saw the Warriors lose in the playoff eliminators after finishing the regular season as the second-lowest points scorers in the division.

Matt Peet has replaced Adrian Lam as head coach, with club legend Sean O'Loughlin forming part of his backroom team, while Shaun Wane has returned to the club in a leadership role.

The signings on the pitch have perhaps been less eye-catching, but Cade Cust has arrived from Manly Sea Eagles to not only replace the departed Jackson Hastings, but also provide a much-needed spark to Wigan's attack. The Warriors are 11/2 to claim Grand Final glory for the first time since 2018.

Best business done by Leeds?

Leeds Rhinos went somewhat under the radar last season as they made it to within 80 minutes of the Grand Final, but following some impressive recruitment over recent months, the expectation levels have been raised at Headingley.

The Rhinos have arguably done the best business during the off-season, not least in bringing in scrum-half Aidan Sezer and stand-off Blake Austin, who will be looking to rekindle the partnership that proved so fruitful during their time together in the NRL with Canberra Raiders.

Austin joins from Huddersfield Giants and, after an injury-hit 2021, he will be hoping to rediscover his form of the previous season when he was directly involved in 25 tries and earned a Man of Steel nomination.

Another eye-catching arrival for Leeds is proven winner James Bentley, who has joined his hometown club following three trophy-laden years at St Helens.

Bentley could provide the Rhinos with the winning mentality they will need if they are to go on and claim Grand Final glory at odds of 15/2.

Coote signing underlines KR's intent

Hull KR were the surprise packages of Super League during 2021, as after spending recent seasons fighting to remain in the division, they turned into title contenders under Tony Smith, only missing out on a place in the Grand Final after losing to Catalans Dragons in the playoff semis.

The Robins will no longer be considered surprise packages this year and they have underlined their intentions to challenge with the arrival of fullback Lachlan Coote, who is fresh from winning three successive Grand Finals with St Helens.

Coote will certainly add quality and trophy-winning experience to the KR ranks that have been dented by the departures of Minikin and George Lawler over the off-season.

Whether KR can replicate or even surpass the heroics they produced last year remains to be seen, with the club from the East Riding of Yorkshire priced at 28/1 to claim Grand Final glory.

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