Warriors away to Salford in opening Super League clash

Wigan Warriors
Wigan Warriors

Wigan will open the defence of their Super League title with four back-to-back clashes against north west opposition.

They travel to Salford on their opening day and - after a break for the World Club Challenge against NRL champions Cronulla - face Widnes, newcomers Leigh and fellow Grand Finalists Warrington on successive weekends.

The fixtures for the new campaign - sponsored by BetFred - were released tonight. This is the third year under the Super-8s format, meaning only the first 23 fixtures are known before the season splits into the second phase.

But in one change to the format there will now be TWO double-round weekends.

Wigan host St Helens on Good Friday, April 14 and travel to Wakefield three days later.

And there will also be two games on the weekend at the end of May - against St Helens on Thursday, 25th and Wakefield the next Monday - meaning they will play three games in a nine-day period.

The congested Easter schedule has polarised opinion of fans, players and coaches. But organisers say the change has been introduced “in order to best prepare the England national team for the 2017 World Cup” and was agreed by clubs.

They will also allow England players to head on a January pre-season training camp and play in a representative weekend in May.

As in recent seasons, there is a six-week block of away games for the Warriors from the start of June, in case any pitch maintenance work needs to be carried out at the DW Stadium. During that time, Wigan will travel to Leigh Sports Village to face the Centurions in a borough derby on Thursday, June 8.

The away game at Catalans - popular with supporters - is again in the height of summer, on Saturday July 8.

Of Wigan’s 23 games known so far, a staggering 14 have already been chosen by Sky Sports to be televised. The broadcaster is continuing to show Thursday night matches - Shaun Wane’s champions feature in five in 2017 before the Super-8s split at the end of July.

Warriors fans will no doubt seek assurances their televised home clash against Widnes on Friday, February 24 will not be affected by Latics’ home game against Notttingham Forest the following day. Last season, the fixture on the same weekend - against Salford - was brought forward a day to give the DW Stadium more time to recover for the Wigan Athletic match..

Salford Red Devils A Saturday, February 11 3pm

Cronulla Sharks H Sunday, February 19 3pm WCC

Widnes Vikings H Friday, February 24 8pm

Leigh Centurions H Friday, March 3 8pm

Warrington Wolves A Thursday, March 9 8pm

Huddersfield Giants H Sunday, March 19 3pm

Hull FC H Friday, March 24 8pm

Leeds Rhinos A Friday, March 31 8pm

St Helens H Friday, April 14 TBC

Wakefield A Monday, April 17 TBC

Catalans Dragons H Sunday, April 23 3pm

Castleford Tigers A Saturday, April 29 3pm

Salford Red Devils H Friday, May 5 8pm

Weekend of May 5-8 – England Mid-Season International (Details TBC)

Warrington Wolves MAGIC Saturday, May 20 TBC

St Helens A Thursday, May 25 8pm

Wakefield H Monday, May 29 TBC

Hull FC A Friday, June 2 8pm

Leigh Centurions A Thursday, June 8 8pm

Huddersfield A Friday, June 23 8pm

Widnes Vikings A Sunday, July 2 3pm

Catalans Dragons A Saturday, July 8 6pm

Warrington Wolves H Thursday, July 13 8pm

Leeds Rhinos H Friday, July 21 8pm

Super 8s begin Weekend of August 3-6

Challenge Cup Final August 26

Grand Final October 7