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Related: 2023 Super League Squads and Results
Warrington Wolves Vs Leeds Rhinos
Date: 16/02/23, Kick-off Time: 20:00 GMT, Venue: The Halliwell Jones Stadium
Warrington Wolves 21-Man Squad: Matty Ashton, Joe Bullock, Daryl Clark, Ben Currie, Josh Drinkwater, Matt Dufty, James Harrison, Leon Hayes, Adam Holroyd, Sam Kasiano, Peter Mata’utia, Josh McGuire, Tom Mikaele, Greg Minikin, Matty Nicholson, Stefan Ratchford, Josh Thewlis, Paul Vaughan, Danny Walker, Tom Whitehead, George Williams.
Leeds Rhinos 21-Man Squad: Richie Myler, David Fusitu’a, Ash Handley, Blake Austin, Aidan Sezer, Kruise Leeming, Zane Tetevano, Rhyse Martin, Cameron Smith, Jarrod O’Connor, Sam Lisone, Derrell Olpherts, Justin Sangare, Tom Holroyd, James McDonnell, Morgan Gannon, Sam Walters, Liam Tindall, Luis Roberts, James Donaldson, Leon Ruan.Embed from Getty Images
Both sides go into this highly anticipated league opener with a host of names out with injuries and suspension. We won’t be seeing either side with their strongest squads, which will be a theme of the opening weekend. But there is a lot of hype around both teams going into 2023 for different reasons.
Everyone expects Leeds to continue their rise from the tail end of last season and start strong. While Warrington can’t really do any worse in 2023, unless thy get relegated. Warrington losing Maguire on the week of the game and for the foreseeable six games to follow is a big blow for them. Both teams will be shaken and try to settle down early. I do fancy Leeds to have too much for Warrington in this one.
The Wire only won 5 of their 13 league home games in 2022, only winning 1 in the final 4 of last season at the Halliwell. Meanwhile, Rhinos won 4 of their 5 final games on the road in 2022, with impressive wins at Catalan and Wigan in the Play-Off’s. We’re in for a real good opener, the crowd is set to be a big one and hopefully the players can deliver.
Prediction: Leeds Rhinos by 8 points
Wakefield Trinity Vs Catalan Dragons
Date: 17/02/23, Kick-off Time: 19:30 GMT, Venue: Belle Vue
Wakefield Trinity 21-Man Squad: Max Jowitt, Jorge Taufua, Corey Hall, Reece Lyne, Tom Lineham, Lee Gaskell, Mason Lino, Eddie Battye, Jai Whitbread, Matty Ashurst, Kelepi Tanginoa, Jay Pitts, Liam Kay, Renouf Atoni, Lee Kershaw, Kevin Proctor, Morgan Smith, Samisoni Langi, Rob Butler, Lewis Murphy, Sam Eseh.
Catalan Dragons 21-Man Squad: Arthur Mourgue, Tom Davies, Adam Keighran, Matthieu Laguerre, Mitchell Pearce, Micky McIlorum, Julian Bousquet, Matt Whitley, Paul Séguir, Benjamin Garcia, Mickael Goudemand, Romain Navarrete, César Rougé, Tiaki Chan, Siua Taukeiaho, Jordan Dezaria, Tom Johnstone, Loan Castano, Manu Ma’u, Ugo Tison, Tanguy Zenon.
This is a big game for Wakefield. It sounds stupid to say on week one of a new season, but many, me included, feels Trinity will finish either rock bottom or second bottom this year. With their being eight new debutants between both clubs, it should be an interesting opener.
Seems very harsh to say before the guys even had a run at the side and I hope I’m proven wrong and he does a good job at Wakey, but with the squad where it is and for me, the lack of quality they have compared to other teams in the league, I do think that Trinity fans are in for a long season. As for Catalan, this is a tricky little opener, as many will fancy them to do the job, but there’s no walkovers in Super League, they will need to turn up and play their part to win here.
They are without the likes of Tomkins, Yaha and McMeeken, which will suit Trinity much more. If Dragons start on the front foot, I think they’ll be tough to beat, but if Trinity do get at them early doors and make it a real battle, we could see a close one here. I do fancy Dragons to have too much for them in the end and run out comfortable winners.
Prediction: Catalan Dragons by 14 points
Leigh Leopards Vs Salford Red Devils
Date: 17/02/23, Kick-off Time: 20:00 GMT, Venue: Leigh Sports Village
Leigh Leopards 2-Man Squad: Zak Hardaker, Tom Briscoe, Ed Chamberlain, Ricky Leutele, Josh Charnley, Lachlan Lam, Tom Amone, Edwin Ipape, Robbie Mulhern, Joe Wardle, Jack Hughes, John Asiata, Ben Nakubuwai, Ben Reynolds, Oliver Holmes, Gareth O’Brien, Matt Davis, Aaron Smith, Jacob Gannon, Kai O’Donnell, Ava Seumanufagai.
Salford Red Devils 21-Man Squad: Ryan Brierley, Ken Sio, Kallum Watkins, Tim Lafai, Brodie Croft, Marc Sneyd, Jack Ormondroyd, Andy Ackers, King Vuniyaywa, Sam Stone, Oliver Partington, Chris Atkin, Tyler Dupree, Shane Wright, Alex Gerrard, Adam Sidlow, Ellis Longstaff, Amir Bourouh, Rhys Williams, Matt Costello, Deon Cross.Embed from Getty Images
For me, this is one of the games of the weekend. I am really looking forward to watching both these sides go at it, in what may be the game of round one. Leigh where the entertainers and high scorers in the Championship last season, scoring just the 1,306 points in 27 league games. Which comes in at just the 48 points a game on average.
On the flip side, Salford have been impressive in Super League and are on a mission to make themselves in the talk of being one of the top sides in the league and take the next step in their chase for glory. Salford are a real exciting prospect and a side that’s managed to not only recruit well, but keep a hold of their major players and tie them down to long term deals. It’s a good time to be a Red Devil.
This game brings so much anticipation from all fans, as many can’t wait to see how the newly named Leopards will do. I watched Salford at Wigan the other week in their final pre season game and they didn’t look too good, leaving quite disappointed. If they play like they did in that game, Leigh will come out as comfortable winners. But this is the league opener and both will fancy a good start, this is one to watch for the weekend and we could see some cracking rugby league.
Prediction: Leigh Leopards by 4 points
Hull KR Vs Wigan Warriors
Date: 18/02/23, Kick-off Time: 13:00 GMT, Venue: Craven Park
Hull KR 21-Man Squad: Lachlan Coote, Ethan Ryan, Tom Opacic, Shaun Kenny-Dowall, Ryan Hall, Jordan Abdul, Sauaso Sue, Matt Parcell, George King, Frankie Halton, Kane Linnett, Elliot Minchella, Jez Litten, Rhys Kennedy, James Batchelor, Matty Storton, Will Dagger, Mikey Lewis, Dean Hadley, Louis Senior, Sam Luckley.
Wigan Warriors 21-Man Squad: Jai Field, Bevan French, Toby King, Jake Wardle, Liam Marshall, Cade Cust, Harry Smith, Brad Singleton, Sam Powell, Liam Byrne, Willie Isa, Liam Farrell, Morgan Smithies, Mike Cooper, Kaide Ellis, Ethan Havard, Kai Pearce-Paul, Joe Shorrocks, Patrick Mago, Brad O’Neil, Abbas Miski.
This is one of the only openers where both sides go into it without many, if any, key players missing from their squads. It should be a real good lunchtime battle this. Wigan are tipped to be one of the front runners of the league and this will be one they see as good place to start strong.
Hull KR are no pushovers at Craven Park, they are a tough nut to crack and not many teams go and have an easy day of it. Wigan will need to be ready for a battle down the middles and the likes of Singleton, Byrne and Cooper will need to be on point, gain the momentum down field and let the creative backs do the rest and take the game by the scruff of the neck.
KR are looking strong going into the new season, with a group of 30 players to choose from, Peters would have had a bit of a headache when making his selections. They have strengthened really well in their forward pack and with a few names missing out, they are blessed with good depth in 2023. This is a tough opener for fancied Wigan, and they’ll need to be switched on and look to quieten the home crowd as soon as possible, as Craven Park will be booming from kick-off.
Prediction: Wigan Warriors by 10 points
Hull FC Vs Castleford Tigers
Date: 19/02/23, Kick-off Time: 15:00 GMT, Venue: MKM Stadium
Hull FC 21-Man Squad: Tex Hoy, Adam Swift, Liam Sutcliffe, Darnell McIntosh, Jake Clifford, Ligi Sao, Danny Houghton, Chris Satae, Andre Savelio, Jordan Lane, Brad Fash, Joe Lovodua, Joe Cator, Kane Evans , Cam Scott, Ben McNamara, Jack Brown, Josh Griffin, Davy Litten, Scott Taylor, Brad Dwyer.
Castleford Tigers 21-Man Squad: Niall Evalds, Jordan Turner, Mahe Fonua, Bureta Faraimo, Gareth Widdop, Jacob Miller, George Lawler, Paul McShane, George Griffin, Kenny Edwards, Alex Mellor, Joe Westerman, Nathan Massey, Adam Milner, Jack Broadbent, Albert Vete, Muizz Mustapha, Jake Mamo, Suaia Matagi, Cain Robb, Liam Watts.Embed from Getty Images
This is one of the toughest games to predict for the opening weekend. Both sides are absolutely ruined with injuries, especially Hull, who are the most depleted squad in the league on opening weekend. They are both without some huge names and I feel the game may be impacted by such mismatched squads being out there. It really can be anyone’s this one.
Hull FC seem to be one of those marmite teams this year, with people either predicting them to be low down the table, or high up, there’s no middle ground for them. They do have an impressive squad (when fully fit) and more importantly for me, a really good manager in Tony Smith. He is a coach who can be the difference in them finishing just outside or in the play-offs come season end. He did wonders at Hull KR and with a better squad at his disposal, wouldn’t expect anything less in his new job.
Castleford hit the headlines for all the wrong reason this week and they will be hoping for a good outing to put the bad behind them and have only good press going forward. I feel this will be a messy affair between two messy sides. But as I’ve already said, I fancy FC to be more well coached going into this and with the always loud black and white faithful behind them, they’ll get over the line.
Prediction: Hull FC by 8 points