Six teams tipped for Super League Grand Final glory
The media are predicting that any one of six teams have a chance of Super League Grand Final glory later this year.
The Betfred media challenge runs throughout the season, and all members of the media involved predict games week in, week out to crown an overall winner.
Ahead of the new season, they all submitted their predictions for who will finish 1st to 12th, as well as a Grand Final and Challenge Cup winner.
55% of the media are backing St Helens to win a fifth successive title, though that figure may have been higher had predictions been made after Saints’ stunning World Club Challenge victory over Penrith Panthers.
Wigan pooled 30% of predictions to win the Grand Final, with Huddersfield, Leeds, Salford and Warrington receiving a handful of tips each.
An identical percentage predict Wigan to finish top of the table, with even more backing Saints to finish first than win the Grand Final. Only Huddersfield and Leeds were predicted to finish top of the others.
The spread of predictions for Huddersfield and Salford had them covering 10 positions in the table – from 1st to 10th, and 2nd to 12th respectively.
Salford are one of only four clubs tipped to finish bottom, with Wakefield predicted for relegation by 76% of the media involved. Leigh (22%) and Hull KR are the others.
Those bottom four predictions match those of the bookies, though competition sponsors Betfred have Salford as 25/1 ninth favourites to win the Grand Final. There has been no backing for Catalans to win the Grand Final by the media, despite Betfred listing them as 9/1 fourth favourites.
St Helens tipped to make it five in a row
A combined predicted media table is calculated by awarding 12 points to the team predicted to finish top, all the way down to the team finishing 12th being given one point. All of those points are added up to give the final table.
Unsurprisingly, St Helens are top ahead of Wigan, Huddersfield and Leeds.
Warrington and Catalans are tipped to make up the rest of the play-off places, ahead of Hull and Salford.
Castleford are predicted to head up the bottom four, ahead of Hull KR and Leigh, with Wakefield in the relegation spot.
Sky Sports pundits Phil Clarke, Jon Wilkin, Jenna Brooks and Jon Wells were all unanimous in their predictions that Wakefield would finish bottom.
Clarke and Wilkin back St Helens for Grand Final glory, with Brooks and Wells plumping for Wigan.
Rugby League Live Editor Matt Shaw and national newspaper reporters Dave Craven and Ross Heppenstall have all backed the St Helens and Wakefield combination too.
The Guardian’s Aaron Bower backs Saints for the Grand Final, but reckons Leigh Leopards are for the drop.
In a touching tribute to Ian Laybourn, the much admired, recently retired press association rugby league reporter who was inducted in to the Hall of Fame last year, the predictions he made shortly before his death are included. After a discussion between media challenge organiser Matt Horton and Ian’s son Harry, his weekly tips will be determined based on the average of everybody’s tips.
You can keep up with the media challenge by following @SLTippingComp on Twitter.
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