Every day until Super League returns to our Sky Sports screens on Thursday night, Barrie McDermott, Phil Clarke and Terry O’Connor will cast their eyes over each club gearing up for the new campaign.
Our boys have already had a look at Widnes and Catalans Dragons, Hull KR and Wakefield, Salford and Wigan, Hull FC and Huddersfield and St Helens v Castleford. Now they turn to Warrington and Leeds, who are our first live game of the season.
The Wolves will want to make a statement from the off after a disappointing season in 2017 and what better way than to beat the defending champions. Once again Leeds are being questioned whether they can handle the loss of some key players – but the Rhinos like nothing better than upsetting the odds and you can never count them out.
Warrington Wolves vs Leeds Rhinos
February 1, 2018, 7:30pm
Get Sky Sports Get a Sky Sports pass
Terry: Looking to do a Leeds, and bounce back. With the playing roster they had last year, the Wolves should never have finished outside the eight. New coach Steve Price will have plenty of ideas, but they’ve a big point to prove – to themselves, and to the fans.
Phil: A great bet for winning it this year. Underperformed massively last season. Just like Leeds, could go from Middle 8s to Grand Final winners in 12 months. They have the talent – but need better attitude than last season.
Barrie: After a dreadful 2017, everything has changed for Super League XXIII – coach, coaching staff and playing roster. Flamboyant, expressive marquee signing Tyrone Roberts has the X-Factor – and the likes of Ben Currie will be even better for their World Cup experience.
The Halliwell-Jones faithful can look forward to an entertaining style of play – and Ben Murdoch-Masila will be a big crowd favourite in no time.
Terry: Phenomenal last year. When Brian McDermott predicted at last year’s season launch that Leeds would get to Old Trafford and win, I thought he was bonkers – but the Rhinos proved me wrong, and how. Headingley fans will be hoping the post-Rob Burrow/Danny McGuire era won’t be a repeat of 2015, when Leeds struggled following the departures of Kylie Leuluai, Jamie Peacock and Kevin Sinfield, the best player of the Super League era. I’ve tipped them for 4th – but wouldn’t be surprised if they’re back at Old Trafford on October 13. Plenty of belief – write them off at your peril.
Barrie: It’s taken for granted that Leeds will be there or thereabouts. Melbourne will be a big distraction – they have a huge task to beat the NRL Premiers on Australian soil. Just nine days later, they’re back on the Super League journey at Widnes. With new players, new voices and a new halfback combination, Brian McDermott has a challenge to find cohesion quickly.
Phil: The Rhinos have won six of the last 10 Grand Finals, so you would be foolish to think that they will not be there again. They began 2017 by losing at St Helens but ended with the biggest smile in the competition. Adam Cuthbertson is one of my favourite players in Super League, and could make Richard Myler a South Stand favourite overnight.