21st January 2018, 14:52 | super_league
After signing for Saints as a marquee player last May, star fullback Ben Barba struggled to reach the consistent highs which saw him claim the 2012 NRL Dally M Medal award in 2017.
The 28-year-old was serving the end of his 12-week ban when he signed on at the Totally Wicked Stadium in May, and struggled at times to live up to his billing as one of the most exciting backs in world rugby league.
Barba made his long-awaited debut at the end of August against Wigan Warriors and did show moments of brilliance, including this sensational turn of pace against Huddersfield to score a terrific try.
2018 is a huge season in Barba’s career; a big campaign and he could help fire Saints back to Super League glory but a struggling year and he could become a big Super League flop.
Much was hoped when half-back Kevin Brown made the controversial move between local rivals Warrington Wolves and Widnes Vikings.
The early signs were positive, including a superb solo performance which inspired the Wolves to a World Club Series win over Brisbane in February.
However, intermittent spells on the sidelines with injuries hindered his form during the campaign, and in a struggling Warrington side was unable to reach the highs he had hoped for.
2018 is a fresh chance to prove the doubters wrong. Neither he nor Warrington can afford another poor season.
Following the departure of Zak Hardaker from Headingley midway through 2015, rising fullback Golding was given his big chance.
Just 19 at the time, it was a case of being thrown in at the deep end and the former Stanningley youngster slowly bedded into the first team.
However, midway through 2017 saw the emergence on a new pretender at Headingley as 17 year-old Jack Walker burst onto the scene. After a string of impressive performances, the teenager was favoured over Golding for much of the second half of last season.
Golding has retained the number 1 jersey at Leeds in 2018, but time will tell whether it will be him or Jack Walker who is favoured at fullback.
After trying his luck in the NRL with Gold Coast Titans in 2017, Sarginson’s campaign was curtailed early with a season-ending shoulder injury sustained in May.
He had signed a two-year contract with the Queensland state side, however when the opportunity arose to return to Wigan in December, the opportunity was taken.
With Anthony Gelling moving onto NZ Warriors in the close season, Sarginson will have to be ready to hit the ground running straight away in the Wigan centres in 2018, alongside 2018’s Young Player of the Year, Oliver Gildart.
After a poor season by their standards in 2017, Wigan need to be challenging in Super League this year and ‘Sarge’ could play a big part.
Another player with a big reputation heading into Super League this year is Warrington’s Tyrone Roberts.
The 26-year-old comes into the competition following spells with Newcastle Knights and Gold Coast Titans and has been signed on at the Halliwell Jones as a marquee player.
With that marquee status comes an added expectancy, an expectancy that the versatile half-back/hooker will play a big part in helping to turn around the fortunes at Wire this year.