Fred Done – co-founder of Super League sponsors Betfred – takes a look at the 2020 season...

WHAT a year 2020 promises to be on the Betfred Super League front – not to mention the Betfred Championship, League 1 and the Betfred Women’s Super League.

It’s just brilliant that we are continuing as title sponsors of this fantastic game that I sincerely believe deserves a higher profile in this sport-mad nation of ours.

If, like me, you found a nice little diary in your Christmas stocking then get these dates entered ASAP – Saints v the NRL’s Sydney Roosters at the Totally Wicked Stadium (February 22, kick off 7.45pm), the Magic Weekend back in Geordie land at Newcastle (May 23-24), the Betfred Championship’s Summer Bash at Blackpool (May 30-31) and the showpiece game, the Betfred Super League Grand Final at Old Trafford on Saturday, October 10.

Last season was full of drama, with runaway leaders St Helens confirming their status as the best team in the land after Warrington’s form tailed off in the Betfred Super League, although The Wire did of course pick up the Challenge Cup.

The play-off games were top-notch with my hometown club – the mighty Salford Red Devils – emerging as finalists at the expense of Wigan, Warrington and Castleford while you couldn’t make it up at the bottom of the table, with London relegated at the 11th hour.

So to the new season and I guess it is no surprise that Saints are 5/2 favourites with Betfred, while the Warriors are 11/4, the Wolves are 4/1 and Hull FC are 10/1.

Our traders reckon Salford will struggle to match last season’s heroics and they are 33/1 to go one better and win the Betfred Super League Grand Final.

Leeds are expected to come good again and are 11/1 to win the big one, with the new boys from overseas Toronto Wolfpack 25/1 shots to triumph at Old Trafford.

I’m sure I’m not alone in waiting in anticipation for the impact of Sonny Bill Williams.

What a coup that is by the Wolfpack and for the game. We can’t have enough characters and this charismatic fella has rocked up with a world class reputation.

He’s already a 16/1 shot at Betfred for the 2020 Steve Prescott Man of Steel award.

The former All Blacks star will boost the brand, making rugby league’s appeal truly global.

At 34, he’s the highest-paid player in either code of the game – and no wonder as this fella has won two union World Cups with the All Blacks and two Grand Finals in the NRL.

Brian McDermott, the Toronto boss, made a valid point when he said that Warrington, St Helens and Wigan to name but three are big clubs and if something happens concerning them it is big news in rugby league but NOT big around the world.

Sonny Bill described his move to Super League as “an opportunity I couldn’t turn down” while McDermott suggested the 34-year-old will be seen at his best in the final third of the season.

It will be fascinating to see how Sonny Bill goes that is for sure. On that front, he’s not far behind joint-favourites Blake Austin, Warrington’s own superstar from Down Under, and current holder Jackson Hastings, who recently changed allegiances from Salford to Wigan – both 12/1 shots at Betfred.

Catalans Dragons’ James Maloney is next in the betting at 14/1, along with Saints’ Lachlan Coote.

Mr Consistency at Saints James Roby and Warrington’s high profile newboy Gareth Widdop are meanwhile 16/1 shots.

Bring on 2020!