Will there be changing of the guard in Super League this season as established powers fade?
No club seems capable of pulling away from their rivals at this crucial stage of the season and many people believe, rightly or wrongly, it is due to an improvement in recruitment, as well as the on-going development, at all levels.
Others may suggest a lack of consistency is the main reason behind few teams being able to string together a set of wins and that is reflected in studying the Betfred Super League table as it stands at this moment in time.
Sixth in the table Saints have ruled the roost for several seasons but they have already lost half a dozen of their first 15 matches in 2023 and all their rivals - apart from leaders Catalans Dragons and second-in-the-table Warrington Wolves - are in the same boat.
But now is the time to strike and it goes without saying that head coach Paul Wellens’ boys will need to be firing on all cylinders if they are to rocket up the table to eventually retain their title and also book a place in the Challenge Cup Final .
Castleford Tigers are the visitors on Friday followed by a short trip to Warrington Wolves, a home encounter against table-toppers Catalans Dragons, and a Challenge Cup semi-final showdown with Leigh Leopards at the Halliwell Jones Stadium - the winners taking on either holders Wigan Warriors, or Hull KR at Wembley on Saturday, August 12.
To emerge unscathed from a tough-looking set of fixtures isn’t going to be an easy, or straightforward task, but after the tongue-lashing handed out to the players by boss Wellens in the wake of their inept league performance at Hull FC last Thursday, it’s hoped the message will have been taken on board where it matters most.