Warrington are all set to open up Super League XXIII tomorrow with a home tie against defending champions Leeds Rhinos at the Halliwell Jones Stadium. Here’s all you need to know ahead of the game:
TEAM FORM GUIDE
Warrington have invested well in the off-season, with the squad undergoing a huge overhaul. A total of 14 players, including experienced stars Ashton Sims, Joe Westerman and Peta Hiku, have departed the club, with new coach bringing in five new signings. Marquee man Tyrone Roberts will be hoping to prove his worth in front of the home crowd, having missed all three of the Wolves’ trial matches- defeat to Widnes Vikings and victory over Rochdale Hornets and Salford Red Devils.
Brian McDermott’s men have brought in former Wolves star Richie Myler, following the departure of club legends Rob Burrow and Danny McGuire, the latter joining Hull Kingston Rovers. Nathan Peteru and Brad Dwyer, another former Wire, have joined Leeds’ ranks. Leeds, who won two and lost two during pre-season, will be hoping to make a statement of intent as reigning champions.
The Wolves could give a Super League debut to Tyrone Roberts following his arrival from the Gold Coast Titans. Ben Murdoch-Masila is also set to feature following his arrival from Salford in the off-season. However, new man Sitaleki Akauola misses the game with injury, as do Toby King and Dom Crosby.
Wolves Squad: Ratchford, Lineham, Goodwin, Atkins, Russell, K. Brown, Roberts, Hill, Clark, Cooper, Currie, Hughes, Murdoch-Masila, Patton, Philbin, G. King, M. Brown, Smith, Westwood
Richie Myler is in line to face his former club, having adopted the number seven shirt for the 2017 champions. Fellow newcomers Nathan Peteru and Brad Dwyer are also in the squad, with Joel Moon set to start at stand-off. New Captain Kallum Watkins is set to lead the side out for the season opener.
Rhinos Squad: Golding, Briscoe, Watkins, Sutcliffe, Hall, Moon, Myler, Cuthbertson, Parcell, Singleton, Jones-Buchanan, Ablett, Dwyer, Delaney, Mullally, Garbutt, Peteru, Ormondroyd, Walker
KEY BATTLE- TYRONE ROBERTS VS RICHIE MYLER
It will interesting to see how both number sevens adapt to their new surroundings. Roberts arrived at the Wolves to a great deal of excitement and will be hoping to stamp his class on proceedings. Meanwhile, Myler will want to show Wolves fans what they are missing, following his departure from the club. The Widnes-born star, who made 139 appearances in Primrose and Blue, will undoubtedly receive a warm welcome pre-match, but that will all change, come kick-off.
In a game that could possibly come down to fine margins, these two play-makers will want to take the game by the scruff of the neck and win the two points for their new clubs.
Leeds have only lost four of their 22 opening round matches- the best record of any side in Super League. However, the last time these two met in round one, the Wolves were victorious, securing a 12-10 victory at Headingley in 2016.
THE IMPORTANT DETAILS
Date: Thursday February 1
Venue: Halliwell Jones Stadium
Referee: P. Bentham
WHO WILL WIN?