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Super League XIV factfile

Bradford BullsCastleford TigersCatalans DragonsCeltic CrusadersHarlequinsHuddersfield GiantsHull FCHull KRLeeds RhinosSt HelensSalford City RedsWigan WarriorsWakefield Trinity WildcatsWarrington Wolves

BBC Sport gives you the low-down on what fans can look forward to when the newly-expanded Super League returns this weekend.

Click on a team badge to get each club's opinions.

BRADFORD BULLS
Greg Bird
Great things are expected of controversial new signing Greg Bird

Coach: Steve McNamara (since April 2006)

Captain: Paul Deacon

Ground and capacity: Odsal Stadium (26,019)

Last three season finishes: 4th, 3rd, 5th

In: Greg Bird (Cronulla), Steve Menzies (Manly), Nick Scruton (Leeds), Rikki Sheriffe, Michael Worrincy (both Harlequins)

Out: Joe Vagana (retired), Iestyn Harris (Featherstone), James Evans, Chris Feather (both Castleford), Matt James (Halifax, on season-long loan), Simon Finnigan, Keal Carlile (both Huddersfield)

Bulls coach Steve McNamara:

"We want to be more consistent in every thing we do, in training, in the gym and on match day. If we carry on those philosophies it will give us the best opportunity. We have what it takes to be consistently good and if we do that regularly we will be in there with a shout.

"We have a squad capable of doing great things and the players believe that as well. It's a fantastic competition and we are confident this season."

CASTLEFORD TIGERS

Coach: Terry Matterson (since November 2005)

606: DEBATE
ubnaughty

Captain: Ryan Hudson

Ground and capacity: The Jungle (formerly Wheldon Road) 11,750

Last three season finishes: 11th (relegated), 1st National League (champions), 12th

In: Rangi Chase (St George Illawarra), Dean Widders (South Sydney), Sione Faumuina (North Queensland), Stuart Jones, Ryan Hudson (both Huddersfield), James Evans, Chris Feather (both Bradford), James Ford (Sheffield), Kirk Netherton (Hull KR), Brett Ferres (Wakefield)

Out: Luke Dorn (Harlequins), Awen Guttenbeil (retired), Anthony Thackeray (Widnes), Stuart Donlan (Leigh), Ned Catic (Barrow), Adam Fletcher, Mark Leafa (both released), Peter Lupton (Celtic Crusaders), Andrew Henderson (Gateshead), Brendan Hlad (York), Michael Korkidas (Huddersfield)

Tigers coach Terry Matterson:

"We've worked hard to bring the new players in, now it's a matter of integrating them. We understand we've got a lot of work to do but I'm really pleased with the guys we've brought in.

"We had to improve in a lot of areas. Last year we weren't able to recruit how we'd have liked as by the time we were promoted there weren't any players available. But we've had a real dig in the market this year, we feel we've really improved, but we've got to turn that into results."

CATALANS DRAGONS
Casey McGuire
McGuire will hope to keep up the Dragons' impressive progress

Coach: Kevin Walters (since December 2008)

Captain: Casey McGuire

Ground and capacity: Gilbert Brutus Stadium, 10,000

Previous finishes: 12th, 10th, 3rd

In: Steven Bell (Manly), Jason Ryles (St George Illawarra), Shane Perry (Brisbane), Mathias Pala (Limoux), Michael Tribillac (Lezignan), Romain Mencarini (Toulouges), William Barthaw (Pujois)

Out: John Wilson (returning to Australia), Alex Chan (retiring), Aaron Gorrell (Brisbane), Mathieu Griffi, Younes Khattabi (both Toulouse), Justin Murphy (UTC)

Catalans coach Kevin Walters:

'It's pretty hard to speak about the future because it's my first year with the Catalans but I know the Super League is a top quality championship.

"I know I've a lot of work to do, in particular around the tackle in defence. We definitely have strong forwards and a good scrum-half in Shane Perry.

"Our main objective is to reach the play-offs and I'm really looking forward it. I know it will be difficult but I'm confident about this season."

CELTIC CRUSADERS
606: DEBATE
whaler92-pessimism helps ease the disappointment

Coach: John Dixon (since December 2005)

Captain: Jace van Dijk

Ground and capacity: Brewery Field, 8,500

Previous finishes: 2nd in National League One (Grand Final runners-up) in 2008

In: Mark Bryant (Manly Sea Eagles), Matty Smith, Steve Tyrer (both St Helens), Peter Lupton (Castleford), Lincoln Withers, Marshall Chalk (both Canberra), Ryan O'Hara (Wests Tigers), Adam Peek (Cronulla), Jason Chan (Windsor Wolves)

Out: Ian Webster, Aaron Summers (both Central Queensland Comets), Jamie I'Anson, Paul Ballard (both Oldham), Gareth Dean (Carcassonne), Philippe Gardent (released), Neale Wyatt (Pia)

Crusaders coach John Dixon:

"We've had a chequered preparation for our opening game with the visa issues involving some of our players, but we've got our full squad together now and we are up for the challenge. We have had six months to put together a team for Super League and on paper we think we have done that.

"When we play Leeds on Friday in our first game we will get a sense of where we are at. The progress the club has made in three years is nothing short of outstanding. It has been a wonderful journey but it is just the start.

"What is important for us is to be competitive and get some consistency in performing at the top level."

HARLEQUINS
Luke Dorn
Former Castleford player Dorn is preparing for a second spell in London

Coach: Brian McDermott (since July 2006)

Captain: Rob Purdham

Ground and capacity: Twickenham Stoop (12,700)

Last three season finishes: 7th, 9th, 9th

In: Chad Robinson (Parramatta), Luke Dorn (Castleford), Ben Kaye (Leeds), Jason Golden (Wakefield), Luke Williamson (Manly Sea Eagles), Mick Nanyn (Oldham), Matt Gardner (Salford), Luke Gale (Doncaster)

Out: Henry Paul (Leeds RU), Scott Hill (retired), Mark McLinden (returned to Australia), Julien Rinaldi (released), Rikki Sheriffe, Mike Worrincy (both Bradford), Dwayne Barker (Halifax), David Toothill (Batley), Joe Walsh (Huddersfield), Lamont Bryan (released)

Harlequins coach Brian McDermott:

"The harsh reality is we need to win more games, but I will say that I won't be happy if we just scratch wins here and there. We're still looking to build consistent performances week in week out.

"I don't think anyone could argue that last years performances were at times outstanding and at other times very disappointing.

"This is the most balanced squad and controlled squad that London, not just Harlequins, has had for many a year."

HUDDERSFIELD GIANTS
606: DEBATE
giants no1 fan

Coach: Nathan Brown (since December 2008)

Captain: to be announced

Ground and capacity: Galpharm Stadium (24,500)

Last three season finishes: 9th, 5th, 10th

In: Brett Hodgson (Wests Tigers), Scott Moore (on loan from St Helens), Joe Walsh (Harlequins), Simon Finnigan, Keal Carlile (both Bradford), Shaun Lunt (Workington), Michael Korkidas (Castleford), Gregg McNally (Whitehaven, loaned back for the season), Larne Patrick (unattached), Josh Griffin (Wakefield).

Out: Chris Thorman (Hull), John Skandalis, Rod Jensen (both returned to Australia), Shane Elford (Penrith Panthers), Stuart Jones, Ryan Hudson (both Castleford), Steve Snitch (Wakefield).

Huddersfield forward Eorl Crabtree:

"Jon Sharp was a good coach but we came to the end and it was an unhappy period for everyone.

"Now we've got a brand new coach and new faces around, it's a fresh start for everyone - all the players want try and get to impress the new coach and cement their places in the team which means everyone's going to be on top form.

"It's not so much what he's said, just his demeanour - you can tell he's a winner at heart, and the fact it's a fresh start means we've all got that enthusiasm to do really well this season.

"If we finish outside top eight we'll be very disappointed. We were disappointed with how we finished off last season, we don't want the same again this season, so we're looking forward to ripping in."

HULL FC
Lee Radford
Hull skipper Radford is keen to make up for a disapointing 2008

Coach: Richard Agar (since May 2008)

Captain: Lee Radford

Ground and capacity: KC Stadium (25,404)

Last three season finishes: 2nd, 4th, 11th

In: Dominic Maloney (Dewsbury), Chris Thorman (Huddersfield), Mark Calderwood (Wigan), Sam Moa (Cronulla)

Out: Matt Sing (retired), Garreth Carvell (Warrington), Scott Wheeldon (Hull KR), James Webster (Widnes), Adam Dykes (released), Matty Dale (Featherstone).

Hull FC captain Lee Radford:

"Last season was a massive disappointment. We've got a great squad and Richard has had a good pre-season. We're not going to make any rash predictions where we want to finish. We want to finish top as everyone does.

"It's been one of the toughest pre-seasons I've had. We're looking forward to a settled half-back partnership in Richard Horne and Chris Thorman. We will use last season as a motivator. We can only improve."

HULL KR
606: DEBATE
beverleyrobin

Coach: Justin Morgan (since July 2005)

Captain: Mick Vella

Ground and capacity: Craven Park (10,215)

Previous Super League finish: 11th, 7th

In: Nick Fozzard (St Helens), Liam Colbon (Wigan), Ryan Esders (York), Scott Wheeldon (Hull).

Out: Jon Steel (Featherstone), Kirk Netherton (Castleford), Luke Menzies (released), Chris Chester (retired), Garret Crossman (South Sydney).

Hull KR coach Justin Morgan:

"We want to win compete, it's as simple as that - we're not here to make up the numbers, we want to progress. There are three trophies on offer each year and we want to be challenging for at lest one of those.

"We've been here for a couple of years now, we're happy with our progress on and off pitch, it's been steady but we're going in the right direction, now we want to be challenging for honours.

"We've got a lot more experience in our squad numbers 18-25 which will help us when we're down to bare bones at some stage, but like everybody, if we can keep the core of our key players on the pitch for most of the season I'm confident we can compete with anyone."

LEEDS RHINOS
Jamie Jones-Buchanan
Jones-Buchanan will be hoping for a hat-trick of titles

Coach: Brian McClennan (since November 2007)

Captain: Kevin Sinfield

Ground and capacity: Headingley Carnegie (22,000)

Last three Super League finishes: 3rd, 2nd (champions), 2nd (champions).

In: Danny Buderus (Newcastle), Greg Eastwood (Brisbane Broncos), Luke Ambler (Salford)

Out: Gareth Ellis (Wests Tigers), Ben Kaye (Harlequins), Nick Scruton (Bradford), Eric Anselme (Toulouse), Clinton Toopi (released).

Leeds forward Jamie Jones-Buchanan:

"It's been a fantastic couple of years for us but Brian McClennan says we can't sit on our laurels so we are looking to improve further this season and we have been trying to do that. Super League will be different this season with 14 teams and there are plenty of things to look forward to.

"It will be tough for us and the new clubs will want to give a good account of themselves. You can't underestimate any team in Super League and that's what makes it so exciting."

SALFORD REDS
Ray Cashmere
Ray Cashmere will be hoping to catch the eye for Salford

Coach: Shaun McRae (since June 2007)

Captain: to be announced

Ground and capacity: The Willows (11,363)

Last three season finishes: 5th, 12th (relegated), 1st (in National League, promoted)

In: Ray Cashmere, Mark Henry (both North Queensland), Jeremy Smith (South Sydney), Luke Swain (Gold Coast), Rob Parker (Warrington), Willie Talau, Dean McGillivray (both St Helens).

Out: Paul Highton, Andy Ballard (both Oldham), Andrew Brocklehurst (Barrow), Matt Gardner (Harlequins), Chris Borgese (returned to Australia), Daley Williams (Keighley), Luke Ambler (Leeds), Steve Bannister (Widnes), Leon Walker (released).

Salford coach Shaun McRae:

"When you bring new guys in, it's important that they bring something with them. There's only one relatively inexperienced new signing, Dean McGilvray from St Helens.

"He's 20 but the other size new faces are all in the 27-28-29 age group, so they've all been there and done it at other clubs so they know what's required, so the transition has been smooth.

"I won't have any hesitation in playing young players - if you were to be in a relegation zone with nine or 10 games remaining, there'd be a tendency to use your older players, or look outside to bring some in.

But that's the greatest change - we can blood younger players and play them for greater periods of time without fear."

ST HELENS
Jon Wilkin
Wilkin will be writing for the BBC Sport website throughout the season

Coach: Mick Potter (since December 2008)

Captain: Keiron Cunningham

Ground and capacity: Knowsley Road (17,100)

Last three season finishes: 1st (champions), 1st (runners-up), 1st (runners-up)

In: Tony Puletua (Penrith)

Out: Willie Talau, Dean McGillivray (both Salford), Paul Sculthorpe, Mike Bennett (both retired), Nick Fozzard (Hull KR), Sam Thompson (Widnes), Scott Moore (Huddersfield on loan), Steve Tyrer, Matty Smith (both Celtic Crusaders).

St Helens forward Jon Wilkin:

"Losing the Grand Final last season is good motivation for us for this season. With a new coach on board in Mick Potter it is an interesting time for us.

"Mick has come into the job fresh and raring to go and he has changed things subtly. Last season some people we thought we had a disappointing season but we were one win away from a clean sweep of trophies.

"We are under pressure from teams like Leeds and Warrington as we chase trophies. One of the most exciting things for me coming into this season is that a lot of clubs have chosen to promote their youth players rather than making overseas signings and they are something to watch out for, not just at Saints."

WAKEFIELD TRINITY WILDCATS
606: DEBATE
LancsWakey

Coach: John Kear (since July 2006)

Captain: Jason Demetriou

Ground and capacity: Belle Vue (11,000)

Last three season finishes: 10th, 8th, 8th

In: Steve Snitch (Huddersfield), James Stosic (Gold Coast)

Out: Duncan MacGillivray (retired), Jason Golden (Harlequins), Paul Reilly (Oldham), Brett Ferres (Castleford), Josh Griffin (Huddersfield)

Wakefield coach John Kear:

"We've got a few injuries coming into the season but it's an opportunity for some of the young players and our fringe players to become established Super League players. We have improved year-on-year and if we improve again this season the league position will look after itself.

"If we are in the top eight we will be a great achievement for us and we will give the play-offs a shake-up but it's a Grand National and there are 27 fences to get over before that and each one presents a tough challenge.

"We need to maintain consistency and finish the season stronger than we have done over the past couple of seasons."

WARRINGTON WOLVES
Adrian Morley
Morley's Warrington will hope to have their hands on the trophy in October

Coach: James Lowes (since June 2008)

Captain: Adrian Morley

Ground and capacity: Halliwell Jones Stadium (13,024)

Previous Super League finishes: 6th, 7th, 6th

In: Garreth Carvell (Hull), Mickey Higham (Wigan).

Out: Rob Parker (Salford), Andy Bracek (Barrow).

Wolves coach James Lowes:

"We've set ourselves some high standards for the season, the main thing we want to do is challenge the successful clubs - we know who they are and we want to be pushing them at the end of the year.

"We've got some great players on paper but it's irrelevant, it's what you do on the field.

"We've got to be more ruthless particularly at home. I can't control past, only now, so everyone's working extremely hard to offer a little bit of success to the Warrington club."

WIGAN WARRIORS
606: DEBATE
Theadown

Coach: Brian Noble (since April 2006)

Captain: Sean O'Loughlin

Ground and capacity: JJB Stadium (25,004)

Previous Super League finishes: 8th, 6th, 4th

In: Mark Riddell (Parramatta), Amos Roberts (Sydney Roosters).

Out: Trent Barrett (Cronulla), Mickey Higham (Warrington), Mark Calderwood (Hull), Liam Colbon (Hull KR).

Wigan coach Brian Noble:

"Karl Pryce is like a new player - it's nearly two years since he played any type of rugby, let alone rugby league. It'll be a while before he's at his best but we're pleased with where he's at - we've got him on the pitch, which is a bonus.

"We've progressed over the last couple of years but the competition will be really tough this year.

"Anyone's capable of beating anyone else, so the team who's successful will have to put a chunk of wins together and get that element of consistency which everyone strives for."



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see also
Harris excited by Welsh Crusaders
04 Feb 09 |  Celtic Crusaders
Carvell back and hungry for more
30 Jan 09 |  Warrington
Ask Jon Wilkin
31 Jan 09 |  Rugby League
Injury boost for Wildcats' Atkins
29 Jan 09 |  Wakefield
Rugby League on the BBC
25 Nov 08 |  Rugby League


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