It’s early days in the Super League XXVI season, but Warrington Wolves are already rated at long odds to win their first Grand Final come the end of the campaign, according to the bet365 UK bonus betting tables.
Steve Price’s side sit sixth in the standings after beating Catalans Dragons last time out, taking their record to two wins, one draw and one loss after four games. The Wire’s next task is a home fixture against Hull KR on Saturday (May 1), where Greg Inglis could make his long-awaited debut for the club, as Warrington-Worldwide.co.uk informed its readers earlier in April.
Defending champions St. Helens and 2020 runners-up Wigan Warriors are yet to drop points at the top of the table, so it’s no shock that pair lead with the bookmakers as the odds favourites this year. The Saints—who lead the table with a points percentage more than double that of any other team—continue their away to promoted Leigh Centurions on Friday, per the BBC.
What’s more surprising is Warrington follow closely behind as the 6/1 third-favourites in most places, suggesting the bookmakers know their worth despite a somewhat sluggish start this season.
Wolves are by some distance the most successful Super League outfit to have never won a Grand Final. The club has finished as runners-up on four occasions, losing finals to Leeds (2012) and Wigan (2013, 2016, 2018); no other team without a title to their name has managed to do so more than once.
Still, bettors may well see the value in backing Warrington for their maiden crown this season, with St. Helens targeting their third trophy in as many years if all goes according to plan.
The arrival of former NRL superstar Inglis gives Price’s squad a touch of the wildcard for the remainder of their season, owing to the fact he hasn’t played a game in two years. The 34-year-old retired in April 2019 after a hugely successful career with the Melbourne Storm and South Sydney Rabbitohs, hoping to prosper in England after signing a one-year contract in Warrington.
Price led Wolves to the Super League Grand Final in his maiden season as coach (2018) and led his side to a career-best third-place finish in 2020. The 43-year-old also took the team to back-to-back Challenge Cup finals in his first two campaigns, winning the tournament in 2019 thanks to an 18-4 victory over St. Helens.
That latter result serves as proof Warrington can contend with the best of Super League on their day, and they’ll need that kind of inspiration if they’re to make another run at the Grand Final this year. Their current odds are likely influenced by the season-opening loss at Castelford Tigers in March, meaning rugby league bettors may not find them at as high a price again this year.
That number is likely to plummet in particular if Inglis can produce anywhere close to his potential after such a long layoff. The utility back has been diagnosed with bipolar II disorder in June 2019 (via ABC), and that clarity combined with a long respite could lead to very positive results on the field.
The Super League is preparing to allow some fans to attend games from May 17 as the United Kingdom continues its journey out of lockdown conditions. Warrington promise to benefit as much as any other team from having their supporters back at Halliwell Jones Stadium as Price & Co. hope to stage an underdog’s run at their maiden league crown after a decent enough start.