With the new season comes a set of new features on TotalRL.com, and as part of something we did in pre-season, we’re handpicking five storylines that could be worth watching in particular this weekend.
They could be players with a point to prove, or they could be players that are debuting or stepping into a void created by injury to another player. Whatever the circumstances, there are plenty of individuals in Super League over the coming days that will be interesting to track.
The return of Pat Richards to Wigan
There’s a twist of irony concerning Pat Richards’ second debut in Super League tonight. When he made his bow for Wigan all those years ago, he debuted against Catalans – and tonight will be roles reversed for the towering goal-kicking extraordinaire. He’ll make his first appearance for the Dragons at the ground where he won so much and achieved such success – will his second stint in SL be as good as the first?
Will Lewis Tierney make an impact in Tomkins’ absence?
Another key storyline to watch this weekend is at the DW Stadium too, concerning Wigan youngster Lewis Tierney. He’s been thrown into the deep end by replacing Sam Tomkins at full-back whilst the England international is injured – and he faces a tricky task against a Catalans side littered with talent. Will he be a hit?
Can Hull’s new-look side gel from the off?
Hull have once again recruited heavily in 2016 – but the task for them is surely getting their new-look to side right from the word go. If they can do that then they will surely be a force to be reckoned with in 2016, but they face Salford at the KC Stadium first up – and they’re looking to catch a few people by surprise this year. Will Messrs Pritchard, Fonua and Taylor all click immediately?
Will Theo Fages secure a permanent spot in St Helens’ halves?
Young St Helens half-back Theo Fages is one to definitely keep an eye on in 2016 – and he gets an early chance to impress this weekend due to an injury to Travis Burns. Fages will likely play in the halves against Huddersfield on Friday night, and should he take his chance with both hands, Burns might find it tough to force his way back into the Saints side.
Can Hull KR ease the already-growing pressure before a ball has been kicked?
It’s unusual for there to be pressure on a side before the season begins, but there are definitely a few eyes on Hull KR already before the season has even begun. They will be without key men like Kevin Larroyer and Shaun Lunt for a significant period, and there are still doubts over the fitness of Terry Campese. A win against Castleford this weekend would lift the mood significantly – but that is no easy ask. After two comprehensive defeats in pre-season, the Robins need a lift.