Friday, 3 February 2012

Kick-Off’s Here!

Get your Sky set on record, dig out your long johns and Woolley hats and get ready for Superleague 2012!

Whilst we’re not quite into summer rugby territory, yet, I think we’re all in the same boat that we’re ready for some real blood and guts action. Pre-season friendlies whet our appetite, but now it’s time for business, to stop the speculation, no more unlimited substitutes to experiment with combinations and test youngsters – there’s league points at stake now.
The broadcasters have chosen two less glamorous fixtures to watch from our armchairs, but I’m glad we’re getting a chance to see the new boys Widnes and I’m sure the cameras will enjoy having a look around the new Salford ground. 

Widnes vs Wakefield will be an interesting game between two squads that have a lot of new comers. In my season preview I picked out a half back from both teams as their Star Man and now Tim Smith and Rhys Hanbury are set to go head to head. They’re both talented, but as always, your forwards need to carry the piano before the backs can play it.

Salford and Cas should be a good game and, if I know Ian Millward, the Tigers will arrive full of energy and keen to throw the ball about. I reckon this could lead a few good scores from either side with enthusiasm for attack trumping defences that are missing missing match practice.
Phil Veivers isn’t getting ahead of himself and gave CODE 13 this rather understated interview. 
He has a good little percentage gamer in Matty Smith who has a nice long boot on him, so perhaps a solid showing from the Salford pack could mean that they could frustrate the Yorkshiremen in the territory game.

I hope televising the above games doesn’t take away too much from what should be good attendance figures, with Widnes having their first game back in Superleague and Salford with a competitive debut for their new ground.

I would have preffered to be able to see at least one of the more top end Sunday fixtures, with Wire travelling away to the KC Stadium to play Hull FC and Huddersfield going to Wigan. I reckon both of these fixtures will pull big crowds  and pit two established coaches trying to build on previous seasons with two newly appointed men who’ve spent the off season settling in to their new role. My gut says that the Ws will both be victorious.  I do love an upset, but with Huddersfield starting the season missing some key forwards, including O’Donnell, I reckon this one’s beyond them. 

Looking through the fixtures, there’s none that I can be that confident in predicting and as Cas and (what were) Quins proved last year, your overall standing in the game isn’t always indicative of how you’ll start the season.
Saints fans should be confident against the Broncos, but it’s a long trip and the London side have beaten them early in the season a couple of times to my recollection.

The only ominous one for me is Leeds at home to HKR. Another game with a bumper crowd, Rovers will have to start with some real intent or else the Rhinos have the ability to run away with the game. 

Having fancied Bradford to improve this season, the opening fixture against Catalan is an interesting one. On a level playing field I’d have no doubt about backing the Frenchmen; so can the Bulls build on home advantage and make a statement of intent for the season? Let’s see what they’ve got, but turning over the Dragons is a substantial task. Mind you, on top of home advantage, I’m sure a freezing cold afternoon on the Pennines won’t do Bradford’s chances any harm and Catalans have had what could be a disrupting set of injuries in the three quarters. This may be closer than some suspect, but I still lean towards the continentals.

I’ll go – Widnes, Cas, Warrington, Wigan, St Helens, Leeds and Catalan for victories this week.

No comments:

Post a Comment