Kevin Sinfield believes the quality of the Wigan Warriors squad will ensure they are challenging for Super League honours at the end of the season.
The Leeds Rhinos and England legend has praised the talent of the reigning Super League champions, who are currently sixth in the table with four wins from eight games so far this campaign.
Coached by Shaun Wane, the Warriors started the season in style with victory over the Cronulla-Sutherland Sharks in the World Club Challenge in February.
However, their form so far has been inconsistent, and they suffered a 27-10 defeat to leaders Castleford last Thursday night.
But Sinfield, the Super League’s all-time point’s scorer with 3,967 to his name, believes Wane and his Warriors will be challenging for silverware once more at the end of the season, as he feels they have the best squad of players at their disposal.
“I think Wigan will be there or thereabouts,” said the 36-year-old, who spent his entire rugby league career at Leeds and is running this year’s Virgin Money London Marathon on April 23.
“I think Shaun Wane is a brilliant coach and he’s done a great job with that team.
“I’m a big fan of [captain] Sean O’Loughlin, a big fan of George Williams and Tommy Leuluai, and the latter was a great signing in the off season.
“Sam Tomkins isn’t too far away, you have to just look at their squad and they’ve probably got the best squad in Super League.
“When you look at the junior players they bring in, they just seem to step up and fill the gaps and perform at a level where it almost surprises you at how good they can be.
“They were worthy champions last year and I’m sure they’ll be in and around it this time.”
The former England captain is pounding London’s streets for his maiden Virgin Money London Marathon in aid of Prostate Cancer UK, a cause he holds dear to him.
“The Virgin Money London Marathon is something that’s really special,” said Oldham-born Sinfield. “I’ve never been able to do it before because of my career, because running marathons doesn’t equate to becoming a decent rugby league player.
“I’ve always watched and been touched by the different stories and people who have taken part in the Virgin Money London Marathon – it’s a great thing to be involved with.
“Prostate Cancer UK is a charity that’s pretty close to my heart – I know several people who have been affected by the illness, and it’s really important that we raise awareness.
“If we can save one person’s life or make somebody go and see their GP to get checked out, then it’s all been worthwhile. I’m delighted to be an ambassador.”
The 2017 Virgin Money London Marathon takes place on Sunday 23 April. For the latest news, visit www.virginmoneylondonmarathon.com