The 2012 Stobart Super League Dream Team was announced this week, having been chosen by a panel of Rugby League journalists and broadcasters who regularly cover Super League.
Amongst the side are no fewer than six Wigan players with Sam Tomkins, Josh Charney, George Carmont, Brett Finch, Gareth Hock and captain Sean O’Loughlin, three Warrington players in the form of Ryan Atkins, Chris Hill and Ben Westwood, a debut for Remi Casty who is the only French player ever to be picked and his Catalans teammate Scott Dureau and finally England’s James Roby.
That means that the dream team consists of players from the top five Super League clubs and I can’t help but feel that this needs some interrogation so here are the players who would stay and who would go in my Alternative Dream Team 2012.
Stobart Dream Team: Sam Tomkins and Josh Charnley
My Dream Team: Stay
Who can argue with Sam Tomkins at full back?! For arguments sake I might have been inclined to throw out a wild card just to spark a debate but no, Sam Tomkins makes his third consecutive dream team appearance and he’d be in mine every day of the week. The same goes for winger Josh Charnley, he’s been the top try-scorer and cements his place in history with the third highest number of tries scored in a Super League season ever, that’ll do for me.
Stobart Dream Team: George Carmont
My Dream Team: Goes, replace with Jermaine McGillvary
It’s not that I think that George Carmont isn’t a good player, I do, but there’s something about Jermaine McGillvary’s work ethic and sheer power that makes me feel that he might add more depth to this squad. He had a terrific start to the season pre-injury and I can’t help but think that he’s been overlooked because of Huddersfield’s collective slump in form, put in a squad like Wigan or Saints he’d absolutely thrive.
Stobart Dream Team: Ryan Atkins and Ryan Hall
My Dream Team: Stay, a well-earned debut for Atkins.
Atkins makes his first appearance in the Stobart Dream Team on the back of a season that saw him help his side to Challenge Cup victory with a try and he’s finished up joint top try-scorer for Warrington who I believe have all the elements to win the double. My only complaint is that Joel Monaghan and Lee Briers too have had excellent seasons – they could have done with a few more Warrington faces in the side. Ryan Hall missed out on the dream team last year but has come back to cement his place in the side with form that has seen him, like Atkins, become the top try-scorer for his club.
Stobart Dream Team: Brett Finch and Scott Dureau
My Dream Team: Both go, replace with Jonny Lomax and Kevin Sinfield.
England’s Jonny Lomax is a no-brainer when it comes to picking scrum-halves. Brett Finch is a good player but I can’t help but think that the inclination has been to avoid picking an England string outright. Lomax would make it every time for me, very skillful player and he works hard. Kevin Sinfield should never have been left out of the team. When he’s having a good kicking game, he’s having an absolutely perfect kicking game and I can’t forget the performance that sent Leeds to the Challenge Cup final. Stunning.
Stobart Dream Team: James Roby and Chris Hill
My Dream Team: Roby stays, Hill replaced by Danny Houghton.
James Roby’s made over 500 metres more than his closest rival Sam Tomkins this season and has got to be one of the best forwards in the game. I think think Hull FC often get overlooked in Super League as their outside the ‘big four’ but Danny Houghton has made over 250 more tackles than Hill, and just under 200 more carries – I’d give him a chance.
Stobart Dream Team: Remi Casty and Ben Westwood
My Dream Team: Go, replaced by Danny Washbrook and Lee Mossop
Wakefield just made it into the play-offs and Danny Washbrook’s effort certainly went some way to getting them into that position. He’s made more tackles than James Roby and put in a few assists too. Lee Mossop is what you might call a ‘big unit’ and I think he has an awful lot more potential than he’s already shown and will just continue to develop at a rapid pace under Shaun Wane – he deserves to be there.
Stobart Dream Team: Sean O’Loughlin and Gareth Hock
My Dream Team: Stay
Coming to the end of my dream team interrogation, I realise that there are still five Wigan players in the side. For arguments sake, a part of me does want to throw out Sean O’Loughlin and Gareth Hock but I just can’t. O’Loughlin would make an excellent captain to the side and I have an awful lot of respect for Gareth Hock having come back from a two year drugs ban to regain his place in the England squad and make a debut in the Stobart Dream Team, they’ve both earned their place in the side for me.