Coach: Brian Noble.
EVEN without the mercurial James Lowes, Bradford are strongly fancied to retain their title. They had the balance right in 2003 and coach Brian Noble has recruited wisely to keep them ahead of the pack.
Key man: Logan Swann - the experienced New Zealand Test loose forward may lack the workrate of Mike Forshaw but he is set to add a new dimension to the Bulls' attack.
Emerging star: Jamie Langley - the 20-year-old son of former Leeds favourite John Langley would have added to his 16 appearances last year but for injury and, having put on a stone in weight in the off-season, is destined for a big year.
Coach: Graham Steadman.
THE departures of Danny Orr, Michael Eagar and Dale Fritz has left a huge hole but coach Graham Steadman looks to have a stronger all-round squad this time, especially with the addition of highly-respected Hull forwards Craig Greenhill and Sean Ryan, and with an easier fixture list, they should be challenging for a play-off spot.
Key man: Andy Lynch - already an England A international, he was the most consistent British front rower last year and, still only 24, he can only get better, especially playing alongside the vastly-experienced Greenhill.
Emerging star: Wayne Godwin - the 21-year-old hooker has made only eight starts so far but he has served a good apprenticeship and he is set to blossom following the departure of Wayne Bartrim.
Coach: Shaun McRae.
COACH Shaun McRae has been one of the busiest men in the close season, virtually re-building his squad with 18 comings and goings, and if they can avoid the horrendous run of injuries that proved so costly in 2003, Hull should be challenging the big four once more, especially with an easier fixture list.
Key man: Richard Swain - Brisbane's loss is most definitely Hull's gain. The New Zealand Test hooker is one of the best dummy halves in the game and has a terrific workrate.
Emerging star: Kirk Yeaman - the 20-year-old centre made the most of his big chance in 2003, playing in Hull's last 26 matches of the season to show glimpses of his immense potential.
Coach: Tony Smith.
NEW coach Tony Smith, who made Huddersfield an effective force in Super League, has two years to turn the game's nearly men into trophy winners. Leeds set the pace for most of last year and were a match for every team except Bradford. Smith has virtually the same players to work with but outstanding prospects like Danny McGuire, Rob Burrow, Ryan Bailey and Richard Mathers have another 12 months' experience under their belts and the Rhinos will be up there challenging for honours.
Key man: Kevin Sinfield - naturally gifted playmaker who carries the weight of expectancy on his young shoulders. Leeds will need another big season from their inspirational captain if they are to lift the trophy.
Emerging star: Danny McGuire - the brilliant, pacy youngster began last season on the bench and finished it on the wing but he looks set for an extended run in his natural stand-off role and can take Super League by storm.
Coach: Tony Rea.
THREE months together in Dubai should have done wonders for morale but last year's success in reaching fifth place has made it a hard act to follow. The Broncos have lost a good deal of experience and they appear to have taken a gamble by signing four players from the National League. They could struggle.
Key man: Dennis Moran - the Australian pocket battleship has proved to be one of the best overseas signings of the Super League era and, with deceptive pace and an eye for the opening, he will be aiming to finish top of the tryscoring chart for a third successive season.
Emerging star: Joe Mbu - the London- born forward who spent time at Leeds and Huddersfield looks ready to make the big breakthrough in 2004.
Coach: Karl Harrison.
SALFORD will be encouraged by the success of predecessors Widnes and Huddersfield and coach Karl Harrison has strengthened his promotion-winning squad for the daunting challenge. It's a massive step up from National League, however, and they look sure to struggle.
Key man: Gavin Clinch - the Reds have recruited some useful talent from overseas but it is on the experienced shoulders of a resident Australian that their survival hopes rest. The former Giants schemer was a class act in the National League and is now back on his rightful stage.
Emerging star: Andy Kirk - 21-year-old centre who made his mark while on loan from Leeds last year and looking to kick on now that he has made his move to The Willows permanent.
Coach: Ian Millward.
BY their own high standards, Saints under-achieved in 2003 and that will make them more determined than ever to make it a fifth title in nine years. Coach Ian Millward has reduced the average age of his squad, has a new captain in Paul Sculthorpe and, most importantly, bolstered his pack. Saints are sure to be challenging once more.
Key man: Paul Sculthorpe - the club captaincy won't dent the effectiveness of the game's most creative player, who will be desperately hoping for a clear run of injuries this time.
Emerging star: James Graham - a teenage forward who has yet to make his Super League debut but who showed enormous promise for England Academy.
Coach: Shane McNally.
NINE new faces make predictions difficult but the addition of South Sea Islanders Albert Talipeau, Semi Tadulala and David Solomona should mean no shortage of entertainment at Belle Vue. The Wildcats won't finish in the top six but they could finish out of the bottom two.
Key man: David Solomona - the Samoan forward, noted for his rampaging running and long, flowing locks, has played at the highest level with Sydney Roosters and Parramatta and looks sure to be a big attraction in Super League IX.
Emerging star: Olivier Elima - the 20-year-old French international forward will be looking to make up for a wretched season with injuries last year.
Coach: Paul Cullen.
PAUL CULLEN worked wonders in his first full season as a Super League coach and he will be determined to build on a first-ever appearance in the play-offs. Much will depend on how quickly the Wolves settle into their new surroundings at the Halliwell-Jones Stadium but their re-shaped pack are certain to make them competitive.
Key man: Chris Leikvoll - the big man from Sydney made more than a hundred appearances for St George-Illawarra, including the 1999 Grand Final, and at 27 is just reaching his peak as a front row forward.
Emerging star: Jamie Durbin - highly-rated half-back who joined the club as a 12-year-old nine years ago and is ready to make the breakthrough in 2004.
Coach: Neil Kelly.
THE Vikings failed to capitalise on the success of their first season in the top flight and, on paper, they don't look any stronger this time. Neil Kelly's men rely too heavily on experienced Australian playmaker Jules O'Neill for their own good and they may just be dragged into the relegation mire.
Key man: Jules O'Neill - the arrival of the vastly-experienced Australian from Wigan last April kick-started the Vikings' season and they struggled badly without him when he was injured towards the end of the campaign.
Emerging star: Stephen Myler - 19-year-old stand-off who comes from splendid stock and showed glimpses of his rich potential towards the back end of last season.
Coach: Mike Gregory.
DANNY ORR is Wigan's only signing in two years and, with eight players having left in that time, the Warriors will be once more relying heavily on their magnificent youth system. New coach Mike Gregory guided them to October's Grand Final on the back of an 11-match unbeaten run but they will need to overcome the early-season absences of Andy Farrell, Adrian Lam, Mick Cassidy and David Hodgson to have a chance of going one better.
Key man: Danny Orr - it's make-or- break time for the former Castleford skipper who made a bold move in swapping the cosy surroundings of Wheldon Road for the pressure-cooker atmosphere of the JJB Stadium.
Emerging star: Luke Robinson - Wigan signed this Halifax youngster at the age of 11 and their investment began to pay off last season when Robinson stepped into the considerable boots of Adrian Lam. Still only 19, he has the bravado to emulate his Wigan predecessor Andy Gregory and become the next Great Britain scrum-half.
Odds, to finish top of the table at the end of the regular season, courtesy of William Hill.