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Last Updated: Monday, 4 February 2008, 14:19 GMT
Super League XIII Q&A
Bradford BullsCastleford TigersCatalans DragonsHarlequinsHuddersfield GiantsHull FCHull KRLeeds RhinosSt HelensWakefield Trinity WildcatsWarrrington WolvesWigan Warriots

After last week's curtain-raiser between Leeds and Hull KR, Super League XIII proper begins this week.

606: DEBATE

BBC Sport's Julian Shea spoke to some of the leading lights to find out what fans can look forward to this season.

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

BRADFORD BULLS COACH STEVE McNAMARA

How will watching your team be different this season?
Our recruitment has been based around bringing in more athletic players and more mobility in defence. Hopefully that will increase our ability to defend for long periods.

What did you learn about your team during the course of last season?
I'm not too sure about strengths or weaknesses, but we overcame plenty of obstacles, so mentally we're very strong. Obviously the way we finished the competition, losing the last game, was a lesson for everyone.

Bradford's Sam Burgess
Sam Burgess made a huge impact for Bradford last season

Who do you think could be your breakthrough player this season?
We've not brought in international superstars, but we've tried to bring in people who will complement everyone else. Sam Burgess's front-row partner Matt James could even get past him this season. He's looked good in pre-season.

Who do you think are a good outside bet this season?
If you had to pick two from outside the main group, I'd say Huddersfield and Warrington. They've recruited well this season. So have the Catalans. To go there and get something off them this year will be very difficult.

What will be the impact of scrapping relegation?
It will give youngsters more of a chance and could take away the element of surprise results at the back end of the season. Whether those teams will be fighting as hard without relegation, I don't know. It could change the make-up of the top half of the table.

CASTLEFORD TIGERS COACH TERRY MATTERSON

How will watching your team be different this season?
We've got the same coach and 16 of the squad who came up from National League One. Our combinations and continuity are much better than last time we were in Super League and we've got to develop the youngsters in our ranks.

What did you learn about your team during the course of last season?
I signed a lot of last season's players with Super League in mind, but we've got to develop the youngsters in our ranks. Because we came up late, we didn't has as big a choice as everyone else to choose from, so it's a small squad.

Castleford captain Andrew Henderson
Andrew Henderson celebrates his side's promotion to Super League

Who do you think could be your breakthrough player this season?
Everyone's talking about Joe Westerman - and rightly so. He's an outstanding talent. He's looked up to everything so far. Richard Owen has a chance of being something special, but he's only 17. He'll get the chance this year to step up to Super League.

Who do you think are a good outside bet this season?
With the squad they've got, I think Warrington. But it's one thing having it on paper and another doing it week in, week out. They've got depth in numbers, so I'd have to say them.

What will be the impact of scrapping relegation?
We can develop for the future, but I don't think the absence of relegation will have a massive effect. Down the track, maybe in the next few years, it'll have more of an impact when the competition feels the effect of the work we've done with youngsters this year.

CATALANS DRAGONS COACH MICK POTTER

How will watching your team be different this season?
There's no Stacey Jones - he's such a recognised player - so perhaps our style will change. It's almost like he is the Dragons, but that's not so this year, so maybe that responsibility will be shared more through out the team. Where he was so dominant, there's filtration of responsibility, so maybe that makes for a more dangerous team.

Catalans must do without the mercurial Stacey Jones in 2008
Catalans must do without the mercurial Stacey Jones in 2008

What did you learn about your team during the course of last season?
I learnt how good they thought they were and maybe I underestimated some individuals. Some players really dug in and went beyond what I thought they were capable of. I'm hoping that will show this year when they have confidence in their ability.

Who do you think could be your breakthrough player this season?
Barring injury, which happened to him last year, Casey McGuire could be one of the stand-outs for us.

Who do you think are a good outside bet this season?
I was just looking at Hull KR's roster. I think they could be a big improvement this year. Huddersfield got a really bad start last year, so I think they could be right up there in the mix.

What will be the impact of scrapping relegation?
I've not had to worry about recruiting more experienced players to stave off relegation (Catalans were immune from the drop). I was able to blood some youngsters and say 'this is Super League, have a taste of it'.

HARLEQUINS COACH BRIAN McDERMOTT

How will watching your team be different this season?
There won't be anything visibly different, not until round four or five. We're not going to try and kick the ball instead of passing, or pass the ball in a way that's not been invented, but hopefully, as the season progresses, one of the many internal goals we've set ourselves is to be more consistent.

What did you learn about your team during the course of last season?
We're a brave bunch, probably when teams don't expect it. When people have written us off through form or through injury, people step up, which is all well and good, but we need to do it more often and back up a brave performance with a professional one.

Rob Purdham will be hoping to kick Quins to success this season
Rob Purdham will be hoping to kick Quins to success this season

Who do you think could be your breakthrough player this season?
Most of the League is aware of Louie McCarthy-Scarsbrook. He's cemented a place in the 17 and I'm sure he'll be looking forward to trying to get a starting XIII shirt. Joe Walsh, Will Sharp etc - I've no doubt they'll play this year. How many games they'll play I don't know, injury will have a say in that. We've got six juniors in our top 25 squad which is unheard of for a London club.

Who do you think are a good outside bet this season?
Who was by far the worst team in Super League last year? You can't say, so there's no team out there with no chance. There's a fair amount of talent in every team and every team has a chance of reaching the Grand Final, that's why it's so exciting.

What will be the impact of scrapping relegation?
What a great thing. It means we can trust these youngsters. If they make an error, we don't have to put them back in the box, we can stick with them and play them again. You're talking about people's livelihoods being at stake. The only notable thing about relegation was that how much glee and frenzy was generated by the media at the prospect of someone losing his job. It's ugly and we can do without that.

HUDDERSFIELD GIANTS COACH JON SHARP

How will watching your team be different this season?
Last year, we started with seven straight losses, so we know the importance of making a good start. But we're not going to put everything on that because we got through the other side and reached the play-offs. We know we can get out of the hole if we get in it.

What did you learn about your team during the course of last season?
That they're a resilient bunch and that the coaches are a good bunch who you can trust to stand by you when things aren't so good.

George Gatis in action for New Zealand Warriors
Gatis is being tipped to make a big impression in Super League

Who do you think could be your breakthrough player this season?
George Gatis is a name not too many people will be aware of yet, but I've been following him for a while. He's perfectly suited for Super League. Leroy Cudjoe is a youngster who's stood out in pre-season. His ability to absorb information and to play in a variety of positions has really impressed people at the club.

Who do you think are a good outside bet this season?
I like the people Bradford have brought in. They'll be right up there at the end of the year. Warrington have also brought in good players. I know there's a lot of talk about Matt King, but I like Michael Monaghan. I've heard a lot of good things about him from back in Australia.

What will be the impact of scrapping relegation?
Relegation should have gone 13 years ago. It stymied the development of English players. Now it's gone, it gives coaches more time to test the water with young players. It takes away the pressure of playing games where ultimately coaches have the responsibility of whether or not people will have a full-time job next year.

HULL FC CAPTAIN LEE RADFORD

How will watching your team be different this season?
We've got a bit more strength in depth. We've signed Peter Cusack, who should make us more solid round the ruck. We could have been more organised round the middle of the park last year. Adam Dykes will also give us more direction.

What did you learn about your team during the course of last season?
We've got to get off to decent start, that cost us dearly last year so we need to hit our straps as soon as the season starts. But we're dropping like flies at the moment. I've never known anything like it.

Hull FC coach Peter Sharp
Hull FC coach Peter Sharp has lost a number of players already to injuiy

Who do you think could be your breakthrough player this season?
Looking at pre-season friendlies, centre Tom Briscoe has been fantastic. He's a great ball carrier and he's been doing really well for the England U18s, so I hope he gets a chance in the first team. So far he hasn't disappointed.

Who do you think are a good outside bet this season?
I wouldn't even know who to say will win it, let alone who would be a good outsider. It'll be so tight any one of eight could win it. There's not much between any of them.

What will be the impact of scrapping relegation?
Getting rid of relegation is fantastic. It's great that coaches can give youngsters a chance rather than bringing in a lesser quality overseas player just as a stop-gap. Also, there'll be no panic to get rid of coaches during the season.

HULL KR COACH JUSTIN MORGAN

How will watching your team be different this season?
I'd like to think we can play a more physical game than last year. We've got more potency across the field. Last year we relied on two or three individuals to create our chances. Now we're more threatening.

What did you learn about your team during the course of last season?
I learnt a lot about people's character. When things aren't going so great, that's when their personality comes out. People like Ben Cockayne and Scott Murrell hadn't been in that situation before, but the characteristics they showed - not just on a Sunday but throughout the week and in support for their team-mates - was fantastic. I was nervous about how we'd come up in that area but I was pleased.

Morgan says Ben Cockayne will have learned a lot last season
Morgan says Ben Cockayne will have learned a lot last season

Who do you think could be your breakthrough player this season?
Kirk Netherton's had a great off-season and Kris Welham is a good player in the making. I know Peter Fox isn't home-grown, but he's only a youngster and I'd like him to be talked about in terms of the the England team. He's got speed to burn.

Who do you think are a good outside bet this season?
I'd have Huddersfield and Warrington. They're not dark horses, but they're the teams who'll make the biggest amount of progress. I think they could well win a trophy.

What will be the impact of scrapping relegation?
Coaches may be a bit more liberal with selection decisions and try a youngster instead of a seasoned campaigner. Brian Noble does that very well at Wigan. I think everyone will have that attitude a bit more and give youngsters a bit of experience. But they won't do it for the sake of it, just because of difficulty of the competition.

LEEDS RHINOS CAPTAIN KEVIN SINFIELD

How will watching your team be different this season?
I don't think it'll be massively different. The way teams play is pretty predictable, it's just the individuals who change a bit. If you look at the make-up of our side, we're blessed with some great attacking players and great individuals with the ball. Collectively we've got a great team who like to throw the ball around. Hopefully we can continue to do that and add a bit of (new coach) Brian McClennan's stuff.

What did you learn about your team during the course of last season?
In the last six weeks, when we got our attitude right, we learnt that we can beat anyone. That was the biggest lesson we learnt.

Leeds captain Kevin Sinfield
Skipper Kevin Sinfield says Leeds can beat anyone on their day

Who do you think could be your breakthrough player this season?
There are a few youngsters, but I don't think it would be fair to pinpoint anybody. If you look at our squad, the majority are home-grown and young, so I'm sure there will be some bolters.

Who do you think are a good outside bet this season?
I'm not a betting man, so I won't pick one for you. But the competition is that strong that it could be anybody. Anybody on their day can beat anyone. If your attitude's not right, you'll lose.

What will be the impact of scrapping relegation?
It's important for the game to move forward. Having no relegation will help young lads progress. It's a great move and will take the pressure off some games at the end of the year, but it won't mean people are any less keen to win. Hopefully it'll keep the competition alive until the end again.

ST HELENS AND ENGLAND FULL-BACK PAUL WELLENS

How will watching your team be different this season?
It's hard to say. We've not really changed any personnel and we were pretty consistent last year. We just have to try to maintain our momentum and keep things pretty much the same.

What did you learn about your team during the course of last season?
We're very disappointed about how we finished the season, so hopefully that use that as a motivation for this season.

Paul Wellens
Saints full-back Paul Wellens is tipping Paul Clough for a big year

Who do you think could be your breakthrough player this season?
Paul Clough played in the Challenge Cup final but missed out on the Grand Final. He's got a great attitude and trains as hard as anyone I've seen. He can have a big season if he applies himself. You don't pick international teams early in the season, you do it at play-off time, but I'm sure there will be someone who no-one's talking about at the moment who ends up in the World Cup squad.

Who do you think are a good outside bet this season?
Warrington have not had much success trophy-wise, but look at their acquisitions - they've really strengthened the squad and are sure to have a big say in proceedings this year.

What will be the impact of scrapping relegation?
Over the years, a lot of the sides down the bottom have been reluctant to give young lads a game because of the pressure of relegation. I think they'll give home-developed talent more of a chance now. That can only been good for Super League.

WAKEFIELD TRINITY WILDCATS COACH JOHN KEAR

How will watching your team be different this season?
The biggest difference is personnel. We let a few go and recruited seven high-quality players and also promoted a junior, so there are more young British lads. Hopefully it'll reflect in an up-turn in our results.

What did you learn about your team during the course of last season?
We're a good team but at certain crucial parts of the season we came up short, much of which was down to naivety. Many of them came up from National League, so that's why we've gone for some battle-hardened people who've been there, seen it, got the t-shirt and wear it with pride. We'll be a bit more savvy than last year.

Can Jason Demtriou steer the Wildcats into a play-off berth?
Can Jason Demtriou steer the Wildcats into a play-off berth?

Who do you think could be your breakthrough player this season?
Dale Ferguson. He's a back-rower who's come through our ranks and has had an absolutely outstanding pre-season. I think he'll feature very strongly and, at the end of the season, people will really know his name.

Who do you think are a good outside bet this season?
Hull KR might surprise a few people with the quality of recruits, but it's got to be Warrington. They've already got Adrian Morley, Lee Briers etc and have talent to spare, so if they get a good start, they'll take some stopping.

What will be the impact of scrapping relegation?
If you've got a player who's injured you won't be pushing them to play. No relegation means you can look after player welfare better. That can only be good for the game.

WARRINGTON WOLVES COACH PAUL CULLEN

How will watching your team be different this season?
We've recruited four good players and aim to get the best from them. A year ago we were talking about the arrivals of Vinnie Anderson, Paul Johnson and Adrian Morley, but they all missed chunks of the season through injury, so it's not just about the four new signings. They're three other senior internationals we feel we can get benefit from this season which could give us a chance.

What did you learn about your team during the course of last season?
We exposed an awful lot of youngsters last year because we had to, maybe more than they could handle at times. You can't have too many youngsters in the team at once because of the intensity. The key to success is to have best 17 available as often as you can.

Paul Cullen expects Huddersfield to feature prominently in 2008
Paul Cullen expects Huddersfield to feature prominently in 2008

Who do you think could be your breakthrough player this season?
We did it with two players last season - Kevin Penny and Lee Mitchell - so I think that's enough for two years. Kevin wasn't in the frame at the start, but he got a chance and proved to be a sensation. I'm sure we've a lot more who will take the chance if given an opportunity.

Who do you think are a good outside bet this season?
Huddersfield have recruited well and were improving as a team all last year. They've learnt real mental toughness after a poor start.

What will be the impact of scrapping relegation?
It'll allow managers not to play players carrying injuries because you have a must-win game. As there's not the danger of falling into the danger zone, it might not create the intensity of past relegation battles, but the good thing is that whoever finishes in the wrong position won't go bankrupt as has often happened in the past.

WIGAN WARRIORS COACH BRIAN NOBLE

How will watching your team be different this season?
I'm hoping we're more athletic. Our average age is only 23 and we've got some very exciting players with a year's more experience under their belts. So I hope we'll start games better and be more solid than we were last year.

What did you learn about your team during the course of last season?
We had some toughness and resilience. We made the semi-finals in both competitions - we under-performed in one and ran out of options in the other. Over the last 20 months, in adversity we've managed to compete with everyone. Now we're starting from the same line as everyone else.

Sean O'Loughlin has Brian Noble's expectations resting on his shoulders
O'Loughlin has Noble's expectations resting on his shoulders

Who do you think could be your breakthrough player this season?
I'm not one for singling out individuals, but some of the youngsters, like Darrell Goulding and Paul Prescott who got their chance last year, need to kick on. I'm also expecting huge things from our established home-grown players like Sean O'Loughlin.

Who do you think are a good outside bet this season?
Look at the playing rosters and everyone's capable of beating everyone. You have to look at the stability Leeds and Saints, but anyone's capable of putting together a run and finding themselves top half rather than bottom.

What will be the impact of scrapping relegation?
There won't be panic buying. If you have a junior development structure and you suffer any adversity or injuries, it's difficult to develop youngsters if you've got the boot to your throat in relation to performances.



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