As far as season openers go, there are few more mouth-watering than Halifax and Featherstone.
The two clubs have been engaged in a long-standing rivalry for years, with the two West Yorkshire clubs constant forces in the upper echelons of the Championship.
In the modern era, the intensity between the two clubs has been at a fever pitch since 2010, when Halifax defeated the well-fancied Rovers in the 2010 Grand Final in Golden Point.
Since then, the fortunes of both clubs have swayed back and forth, but their paths constantly cross.
In the ‘Super 8s era’, Halifax landed the first blow by making the Qualifiers in 2015, but Fev currently hold the bragging rights after their late surge into the top four last year at the expense of Fax, who they defeated in the penultimate game of the Championship season.
Now, it is Fev looking over their shoulder at their old foe, rather than the other way, and the novel between the two clubs will have another chapter following the battle between the two sides on Sunday.
Richard Marshall, the Halifax head coach, is no stranger to the importance of the fixture to the fans.
“Featherstone and Halifax have been in finals together over a number of years,” Marshall said.
“Both are fantastic clubs with fantastic traditions. They’ve recruited very well, we’ve only made a couple of signings, but I’m very happy with our squad.
“We want to improve on our Salford game a few weeks back, if we do that there won’t be much in the teams. It would be fantastic to win, but performance wise if we improve I’ll be happy with that. If we improve again this week it might be enough to turn over one of the strongest teams in the competition.”
Shane Grady, Rob Worrincy and Alex Mammone are in line to make their debuts for the club in the contest, in which Halifax go in as the underdogs after failing to make the Qualifiers last year.
“There is less expectancy, but if I’m honest, I’d rather have it. I’d rather be the club having those breathing down our neck. That said, the other teams are looking other their shoulders at us this year. The competition, on the whole, is stronger. The first four weeks are important in our season.”