Warriors title defence starts early

Warriors celebrate with the trophy after winning the Super League Grand Final
Warriors celebrate with the trophy after winning the Super League Grand Final
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WIGAN will open their Super League defence in a home blockbuster against Huddersfield - a week earlier than the rest of the competition.

The 2014 fixtures - released today - confirmed the Warriors will begin the new campaign on February 7, to accommodate their World Club Challenge fixture against NRL champions Sydney Roosters.

Officials are yet to confirm the WCC will take place in Sydney on February 22, but it’s understood Wigan will fly Down Under immediately after their opening game against the 
Giants to give themselves nearly two weeks to acclimatise and prepare. A warm-up game, against either Papua New Guinea or New Zealand Warriors, has been 

Their round two fixture against Widnes - on the same weekend as the WCC -
 has been postponed, to be played at a late date during the year.

Other highlights of the new Super League fixtures include:

Wigan’s opponents for the Magic Weekend in Manchester in May have not been selected.

Warriors will play no home games in May as part of their deal to provide a window for any pitch maintenance work.

London are included in the schedule, despite uncertainly over their future.

The Warriors finish the season with two heavyweight home battles, against Leeds and Warrington.

Wigan’s Good Friday match at St Helens will be followed by an Easter Monday home game against Bradford. They will again travel to Catalan during the height of summer – this time July 12.

The Super League play-offs start on the weekend of September 18-21, following the same format as the past few seasons, with a Grand Final on Saturday October 11.

They begin the defence of their Challenge Cup at the fourth round stage on the weekend of April 6. The rest of their dates are: April 27, June 8, August 10 and the final on August 23.