There’s a limited Super League programme on the cards this week with the World Club Series taking centre stage. Champions Wigan Warriors take on Cronulla Sharks on Sunday while Grand Finalists Warrington Wolves entertain Brisbane Broncos.
Wigan are looking to become the first team to be crowned World Club Champions four times. That task will be easier said than done.
Super League teams have not fared well in the competition with NRL sides dominating following Leeds’ 26-12 triumph over Manly in 2012.
Wigan opened the new campaign with victory over Salford Red Devils. Shaun Wane’s men secured a comfortable 26-16 success after racing into a 26-0 half time lead.
Wigan were humbled 42-12 by Brisbane a year ago and they will have to be at their very best of see off the NRL champions.
Warrington were without a host of big names as they suffered a 20-12 loss to Catalans Dragons in Perpignan last Saturday.
Head coach Tony Smith is hoping to key duo Kevin Brown and Ben Westwood fit to face Brisbane at the Halliwell Jones Stadium. Centre Toby King will play no part due to a hamstring strain while Dom Crosby will be given a late fitness test.
Leigh and Leeds both lost their opening games to Castleford and St Helens respectively and Friday’s game should be close-fought game.
Leigh were Super League pushovers in 2005 have been dominant on home side in recent seasons. Leeds were excellent defensively in their 6-4 loss to Saints, but their lack of attacking prowess continues to be a worry for coach Brian McDermott.
Leigh suffered no disgrace in their heavy defeat to the highly-fancied Tigers and head coach Neil Dukes knows they must maintain their intensity if they are to show they can cut in in Super League.
Huddersfield Giants can make it back-to-back victories to start the new season with success over Salford Red Devils at John Smith’s Stadium following victory at Widnes Vikings.
The Giants make just one change for the game with Tom Symonds ruled out with a knee injury with experienced New Zealander Sam Rapira taking his place in the squad.
The Red Devils were slow out of the blocks against Wigan, although an improved second-half display will have encouraged head coach Ian Watson. They welcome back hooker Logan Tomkins for the game.