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Super League XXVIII week one preview: Warrington can kick off with a victory

The new Super League season gets underway on Thursday evening when last season’s runners-up Leeds Rhinos make the trip across the Pennines to face Warrington Wolves.

While reigning champions St Helens are not involved in the first round of fixtures due to their World Cup Challenge clash with Penrith Panthers, others will be looking to steal a march on the Saints in their absence.

Wolves looking to take down Rhinos

WhatWarrington Wolves v Leeds Rhinos
WhereHalliwell Jones Stadium, Warrington
When20:00, Thursday 16th February
How to watchSky Sports Main Event
OddsWarrington 8/11, Tie 20/1, Leeds 6/5

It all starts at the Halliwell Jones Stadium, with Warrington Wolves looking to get back challenging back near the top of the table after a tough first season for head coach Daryl Powell.

There was plenty of excitement about the Castleford Tigers making the move to Warrington, but the Wire had a season to forget.

The Wolves will be determined to make a strong start on home soil as they welcome Leeds Rhinos on Thursday night.

Leeds enjoyed a strong end to last season and came out of nowhere to reach the Grand Final after beating Catalans Dragons and Wigan Warriors away in the play-offs.

The Rhinos fell just short against St Helens at Old Trafford and will be eager to go one better this season.

Leeds tend to have slow starts to a season and playing away from home, Warrington at 1/1 with a -2 handicap could be the way to go in this one.

Wakefield face tough opener

WhatWakefield Trinity v Catalans Dragons
WhereBelle Vue, Wakefield
When19:30, Friday 17th February
OddsWakefield 6/5, Tie 20/1, Catalans 8/11

Wakefield Trinity finished down in 10th place in the Super League table last season and will be looking to fare better this year with coach Mark Applegarth at the helm.

Losing winger Tom Johnstone to Catalans Dragons over the off-season won’t have helped their cause and he could well come back to haunt them on his return to Belle Vue.

Catalans looked like serious challengers for the title last season before Leeds spoiled the party in Perpignan in the play-offs.

Following a strong off-season in recruitment, the Dragons should be a force to be reckoned with once again and are 8/11 to make a winning start in West Yorkshire.

Leigh to get a dose of reality

WhatLeigh Leopards v Salford Red Evils
WhereLeigh Sports Village, Leigh
When20:00, Friday 17th February
How to watchSky Sports Arena
OddsLeigh  6/5, Tie 20/1, Salford 8/11

After the high of securing promotion back to the Super League, Leigh Leopards might well be brought back down to earth by Salford Red Devils on Friday night.

Leigh have replaced French outfit Toulouse back in the top-flight and brought in a host of fresh faces ahead of the new season.

Salford have a far more settled side and will relish the prospect of making the short trip to Leigh to put the newcomers back in their place.

The Red Devils should win this encounter at Leigh Sports Village, while also falling on the right side of the -2 handicap at 1/1.

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Wigan will want to make statement

WhatHull KR v Wigan Warriors
WhereCraven Park, Hull
When13:00, Saturday 18th February
How to watchChannel 4
OddsHull KR 21/10, Tie 20/1, Wigan 2/5

Another side to fall foul of Leeds in the play-offs last season, Matt Peet’s Wigan Warriors, will be looking to make a statement in the opening week of the new campaign at Hull KR.

While arch rivals St Helens are in Australia, Wigan will be looking to get two early points on the board against the Robins.

Hull KR finished down in eighth place in the table at the end of the regular season last term and have since turned to coach Willie Peters to steady the ship.

Wigan are settled under Peet and with the likes of Jai Field and Bevan French in their backline, the Warriors could rack up the points at Craven Park Stadium for the Channel 4 cameras.

With that in mind, the handicap looks generous for Wigan, who are 5/6 to win with -8 to start with.

Smith can get a tune out of Airlie Birds

WhatHull FC v Castleford Tigers
WhereMKM Stadium, Hull
When16:00, Sunday 19th February 
OddsHull FC 4/6, Tie 20/1, Castleford 13/10

With former Robins boss Tony Smith making the switch across the city to Hull FC, there’s plenty of interest in what the Airlie Birds can do this season.

There are a number of new faces at Hull this term, including the duo of Brad Dwyer and Liam Sutcliffe, who both made the switch from Leeds at the end of last season.

With Tex Hoy and Jake Clifford also making the move to Hull from Newcastle Knights in the NRL, this looks like a side that should be challenging much higher than their ninth place from last season.

Castleford Tigers have brought former England international Gareth Widdop into their backline from Warrington, while Muizz Mustapha joined from Leeds and Jacob Miller from Wakefield.

Lee Radford’s side face a tough opening game on the road at Hull against his former employers and it might well be the hosts who come out on top in this final encounter of the first round.

Hull FC are available at 5/6 with a -2 handicap for this clash at MKM Stadium.

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