Wigan Warriors' new Super League fixtures: Five things to look out for
The countdown to Wigan's 2020 campaign will come under sharper focus when the new Super League fixtures are revealed next Tuesday. Here are five things to look out for...
1. When will Wigan play Toronto Wolfpack - home and away!
Many Warriors fans have watched their team play in Australia, Spain and France in recent years, and will be able to head to Canada in 2020 - presumably.
The Super League newcomers are moving their first three "home" games to the UK because of the snow in Toronto at that time of year.
Many Warriors supporters have been saving up to book their transatlantic flights, once the fixtures are confirmed.
And there will also be interest in the Wolfpacks' first venture to the DW Stadium, especially if Brian McDermott's outfit are successful in luring Kiwi superstar Sonny Bill Williams to the club ahead of their historic campaign.
2. Mentioning flights, of course, many Wigan fans will be waiting to find out when they are heading to France.
They missed out on a trip to Perpignan in 2019 because Catalans took the fixture to Barcelona's Camp Nou - a move which attracted a record Super League crowd of 31,555.
The Warriors often head to the Dragons in summer, making it an appealing option for many.
Of the other fixtures, it is St Helens' 'turn' to host the Good Friday derby, while there will inevitably be interest in learning who Adrian Lam's outfit will face in their first match of the season - which is once again expected to kick-off at the end of January - to see new recruits such as Jackson Hastings and George Burgess in action.
3. The full fixture list is revealed on Tuesday but the Magic Weekend games may be confirmed in advance.
And Wigan look set to take on Warrington once again in the 'on the road' May event - for a fourth successive year!
The Magic Weekend is returning to Newcastle in 2020, after a year at Liverpool's Anfield, on the weekend of May 23-24.
If the fixtures are selected based on finishing position, like they were this season, then St Helens will have a Grand Final rematch with Salford while the others will be: Castleford v Catalans, Hull FC v Leeds, Wakefield v Hull KR and Huddersfield v Toronto.
4. The Super League fixture list will again consist of 29 rounds - which means each of the 12 clubs play each other twice, and then seven of their rivals for a third time.
The Magic Weekend is one of those 'loop' fixtures.
And if the other six additional matches are drawn up using the same formula as for this year, then Wigan - who finished 2nd - will play all the teams who ended last season in 'odd' positions: St Helens, Salford, Castleford, Catalans, Wakefield and Hull KR.
Last year, the 'loop' games weren't just tagged on at the end, but rather weaved into the regular campaign.
5. Look out for a blank weekend in February - because it could be when Wigan face NRL opposition.
Wigan may not be involved in the World Club Challenge but Canberra Raiders revealed a month ago they hope to travel to the UK to face the Warriors.
And the weekend of the WCC, when St Helens take on Sydney Roosters, would seem the most logical fit for the proposed game, which could see George Williams, John Bateman and Ryan Sutton face their former club.
It's worth noting the fixture against Canberra has not been confirmed, though the club's boss, Don Furner, revealed the plan on the NRL's website.
One other blank to note in the fixtures; next year's Challenge Cup Final takes place a few weeks earlier, on Saturday, July 18.