Round 1 preview
Betfred Super League is back! The 2021 season begins with Champions St Helens taking on Salford Red Devils on Friday 26 March live on Sky Sports.
Friday 26 March
St Helens v Salford Red Devils (18:00) - Sky Sports Main Event & Arena
St Helens head into Friday's fixture close to full strength, giving Kristian Woolf some welcome early selection headaches. Lachlan Coote, Regan Grace and Matty Lees sat out of their only pre-season friendly against Leigh Centurions two weeks ago but will be available for round 1.
Morgan Knowles, who also sat out that game, has had complications from a thumb surgery in the off-season so misses out this week.
Saints three new overseas signings Joel Thompson, Sione Mata'utia and Agnatius Paasi are set to make their Super League debuts, but fellow new recruit Dan Norman misses out.
Salford Red Devils will be without new signing Joe Burgess for the early rounds of the new season after he suffered an ankle injury during pre-season which has required surgery. Fellow new signing Darcy Lussick is also missing as he strives to get match fit.
Red Devils number 9 Andy Ackers is not included in Salford's 21 man squad, leaving new head coach Richard Marshall with no recognised hookers in his side.
Marshall could hand club debuts to new signings Morgan Escare, Elijah Taylor, Danny Addy, Harvey Livett, Matt Costello, Jack Wells and Declan Patton, as he prepares to go against the club he had great success with as an assistant over the past two seasons.
St Helens: Lachlan Coote, Tommy Makinson, Kevin Naiqama, Mark Percival, Regan Grace, Jonny Lomax, Theo Fages, Alex Walmsley, James Roby, Matty Lees, Joel Thompson, James Bentley, Sione Mata’utia, LMS, Kyle Amor, Agnatius Paasi, Jack Welsby, Aaron Smith, Joe Batchelor, Lewis Dodd, Josh Simm.
Salford Red Devils: Morgan Escare, Ken Sio, Kallum Watkins, Krisnan Inu, Tui Lolohea, Kevin Brown, Lee Mossop, Seb Ikahihifo, Ryan Lannon, Pauli Pauli, Elijah Taylor, Danny Addy, Josh Johnson, Elliot Kear, Harvey Livett, Rhys Williams, Dan Sarginson, Matt Costello, Jack Ormonroyd, Jack Wells, Declan Patton.
Leigh Centurions v Wigan Warriors (20:15) - Sky Sports Main Event & Arena
Centurions head coach John Duffy will be without Jamie Ellis who picked up a knee injury against the Wolves last week, along with Junior Sa'u who misses out. Former Warrior Ben Flower and NRL recruit Brendan Elliot are yet to recover from pre-existing injuries and will be absent during the opening round of fixtures.
New signing Nathan Peats is yet to arrive in the UK so will not be in contention until round 2 at the very earliest.
Wigan Warriors head coach Adrian Lam will be missing a string of first team players for their round 1 fixture against the Centurions on Friday Night.
Bevan French arrives back in the UK this week so is not in contention for the opening round. The Warriors are also without wingers Dom Manfredi and Liam Marshall for Friday's clash who are yet to recover from their respective injuries.
Jackson Hastings needs another week before returning to action after only linking back up with his teammates last week, whilst Oliver Gildart has been unable to shrug off a knock and also misses out.
Jai Field is in contention to make his debut after recovering from a back strain sustained in pre-season which saw him sit out their friendly against Salford Red Devils.
Zak Hardaker will play in his favoured full back position in Bevan French's absence, and star forward John Bateman is expected to make his second debut for the Warriors following his arrival in the off-season from NRL side Canberra Raiders.
Leigh Centurions: Ryan Brierley, Matty Russell, Iain Thornley, Lewis Tierney, Blake Wallace, Joe Mellor, Liam Hood, Mark Ioane, Ben Hellewell, Jordan Thompson, Matty Wildie, Alex Gerrard, Nathaniel Peteru, Matty Gee, Nathan Mason, Adam Sidlow, Tyrone McCarthy, Keanan Brand, Josh Eaves.
Wigan Warriors: Zak Hardaker, Jai Field, Tommy Leuluai, Brad Singleton, Sam Powell, Joe Bullock, Willie Isa, Liam Farrell, John Bateman, Oliver Partingon, Morgan Smithies, Tony Clubb, Liam Byrne, Harry Smith, Ethan Havard, Jake Bibby, Mitch Clark, Joe Shorrocks, Sam Halsall, James McDonnell, Umyla Hanley.
The heir to the number 13 shirt at @WiganWarriorsRL 🍒⚪#SuperLeague stories with John Bateman out now! 👇 #BeReady
— Betfred Super League (@SuperLeague) March 24, 2021
Saturday 27 March
Wakefield Trinity v Leeds Rhinos (15:00) - Sky Sports Arena
Trinity will be without Eddie Battye and Kyle Wood in the pack - both players have slight calf strains and should be available for round 2. Full back Max Jowitt is also unavailable with an ankle problem but will again be fit for round 2.
Jay Pitts and Ryan Hampshire are the other absentees from Trinity's round 1 squad through injury but are expected to be in contention soon.
New signing Mason Lino will make his Super League debut for Trinity, expected to line up in the halves alongside club captain Jacob Miller.
The Rhinos will be without long term absentees Jack Walker (foot) and Rob Lui (quad) and Harry Newman (leg) but will be buoyed by the inclusion of Luke Gale following a pectoral injury suffered in pre-season.
Konrad Hurrell has not made the squad for the opening round, along with Ash Handley, who will be missing for the first few weeks after sustaining an MCL injury during the Rhinos pre-season fixture against Huddersfield.
New signings Zane Tetevano and King Vuniyayawa are in line to make their Rhinos debuts after being named in the Richard Agars 21-man squad. Kyle Eastmond has also been named in the squad but could yet drop out of the match day due to limited training time during pre-season.
Wakefield Trinity: Tom Johnstone, Bill Tupou, Reece Lyne, Liam Kaye, Jacob Miller, Mason Lino, David Fifita, Tinirau Arona, Matty Ashurst, Kelepi Tanginoa, Joe Westerman, James Batchelor, Chris Green, Innes Senior, Jordy Crowther, Joe Arundel, Alex Walker, Adam Tangata, Josh Wood, Brad Walker, Yusuf Aydin.
Leeds Rhinos: Tom Briscoe, Luke Gale, Mikolaj Oledzki, Kruise Leeming, Matt Prior, Alex Mellor, Rhyse Martin, Zane Tetevano, Brad Dwyer, Liam Sutcliffe, Richie Myler, Cameron Smith, King Viniyayawa, Bodene Thompson, Alex Sutcliffe, Sam Walters, Luke Briscoe, James Donaldson, Jarrod O'Connor, Jack Broadbent, Kyle Eastmond.
Catalans Dragons v Hull Kingston Rovers (17:15) - Sky Sports Main Event & Arena
Hull KR will be hoping to get off to a flying start against a talented Catalans Dragons side after finishing bottom of the league in 2020.
The Robins have included new signing Brad Takairangi in their 21-man squad for Saturday but he is a doubt for the match. Fellow new recruits Ryan Hall, Albert Vete and Korbin Sims are in line to make their competitive debuts for Hull KR on Saturday.
Muizz Mustapha - on loan from the Rhinos in 2021 - suffered an injury in pre-season and will be unavailable for Tony Smith for the opening round of fixtures.
Catalans Dragons will be without the experienced Michael Mcllorum and Joel Tomkins for round 1 - the pair are serving their own respective suspensions from the 2020 season.
Arthur Romano suffered a season ending ACL injury so is not included. Samisoni Langi is also missing from the Dragons 21-man squad for Saturday.
New signings Dean Whare, Gil Dudson and Mike McMeeken are all expected to make their full club debuts for Steve McNamara's side against Hull KR in round 1.
Catalans Dragons: Arthur Morgue, Tom Davies, Dean Whare, Fouad Yaha, James Maloney, Josh Drinkwater, Gil Dudson, Julian Bousquet, Matt Whitley, Mike McMeeken, Benjamin Garcia, Alrix Da Costa, Benjamin Jullien, Paul Seguier, Mickael Goudemand, Lambert Belmas, Mathieu Laguerre, Jason Baitieri, Joe Chan, Sam Kasiano, Sam Tomkins.
Hull KR: Adam Quinlan, Ben Crooks, Greg Minikin, Shaun Kenny-Dowall, Ryan Hall, Jordan Abdull, Albert Vete, Matt Parcell, Korbin Sims, Brad Takairangi, Kane Linnett, Dean Hadley, Jez Litten, George Lawler, George King, Elliot Minchella, Matty Storton, Mikey Lewis, Ethan Ryan, Rowan Milnes, Luis Johnson.
Sunday 28 March
Hull FC v Huddersfield Giants (12:30) - Sky Sports Arena & Mix
Brett Hodgson will have an almost full strength squad to choose from when he takes charge of Hull FC for the first time in Super League against his former club.
Jamie Shaul is still to recover from an ACL injury picked up in 2020, with Jake Connor set to start the season as Hull FC's first choice full back.
Scott Taylor and Jordan Johnstone both sat out of Hull FC's pre-season friendly against York but have been passed fit and are in contention for Sunday's match, but Masi Matongo is still unavailable.
New signing Josh Reynolds is expected to make his debut for the black and whites in the halves alongside club co-captain Marc Sneyd who will lead the side during their round 1 fixture.
Ian Watson will take charge of his first match for the Giants in Super League following his off-season move from Salford.
Watson - similar to his counterpart Hodgson - should have a near clean bill of health for Sunday's mouth watering clash.
Olly Ashall-Bolt will miss out after picking up an injury in their pre-season match with Leeds, leaving Watson light at full-back with Ashton Golding already ruled out after undergoing surgery on a dislocated shoulder.
Former Hull FC forward Josh Jones is in line to make his Giants debut against his former club on Sunday, as are fellow new recruits Luke Yates, Ricky Leutele, James Cunningham, Joe Greenwood, Jack Ashworth and Jack Cogger.
Hull FC: Jake Connor, Bureta Faraimo, Carlos Tuimavave, Josh Griffin, Mahe Fonua, Josh Reynolds, Marc Sneyd (c), Scott Taylor, Danny Houghton, Chris Satae, Andre Savelio, Manu Ma’u, Ligi Sao, Jordan Johnstone, Joe Cator, Jordan Lane, Brad Fash, Ben McNamara, Adam Swift, Josh Bowden, Cameron Scott.
Huddersfield Giants: Jermaine McGillvary, Jake Wardle, Ricky Leutele, Darnell McIntosh, Lee Gaskell, Aidan Sezer, Luke Yates, Adam O'Brien, Kenny Edwards, Josh Jones, Matty English, Joe Greenwood, Jack Cogger, Chris McQueen, Jack Ashworth, James Cunningham, Oliver Wilson, Leroy Cudjoe, James Gavet, Oliver Russell, Owen Trout.
Reynolds is ready 💪⚫⚪@hullfcofficial fans, are you? #SuperLeague #BeReady pic.twitter.com/7eVhk0JH0z
— Betfred Super League (@SuperLeague) March 25, 2021
Castleford Tigers v Warrington Wolves (14:45) - Sky Sports Arena & Mix
Tigers head coach Daryl Powell will give half back Danny Richardson every opportunity to play in round 1 as he strives to be fit ahead of their clash against the Wolves.
Castleford will already be without Sosaia Feki who suffered a season ending Achilles injury, along with new loan signing Suaia Matagi who will sit out the early rounds with a calf problem.
New signings Niall Evalds and Jordan Turner are both in line to make their debut for the Tigers on Sunday.
The big news from the Wolves camp is that star signing Greg Inglis won't play in round 1 as he continues to get match fit following a prolonged period out of the game. Sitaleki Akauola will also miss the opening round for the Wolves.
Blake Austin should be available despite leaving the field with a slight knee knock during the Wolves pre season fixture last week. Club captain Jack Hughes and star prop Mike Cooper have also been passed fit despite sitting out that pre-season fixture against the Centurions as a precaution.
Castleford Tigers: Niall Evalds, Derrell Olpherts, Peter Mata’utia, Michael Shenton, Jake Trueman, Danny Richardson, Liam Watts, Paul McShane, Grant Millington, Oliver Holmes, Cheyse Blair, Adam Milner, Nathan Massey, George Griffin, Jacques O’Neill, Tyla Hepi, Jesse Sene-Lefao, Daniel Smith, Greg Eden, Jordan Turner, Gareth O’Brien.
Warrington Wolves: Matty Ashton, Blake Austin, Chester Butler, Josh Charnley, D. Clark, J. Clark, Mike Cooper, Ben Currie, Chris Hill, Jack Hughes, Toby King, Tom Lineham, Jake Mamo, Robbie Mulhern, Joe Philbin, Stefan Ratchford, Ellis Robson, Josh Thewlis, Danny Walker, Gareth Widdop, Connor Wrench.
Watch all the action as it happens starting with Champions St Helens against Salford Red Devils on Friday Night, live on Sky Sports.