ST HELENS started their bid for a third successive Super League title with a straightforward 29-6 win over Salford.
But last season’s beaten Grand Finalists Wigan were made to work very hard for their 20-18 victory over Leigh in the follow-up Friday-night match at Emerald Headingley.
In the first of six behind-closed-doors round-one games in Leeds, Tommy Makinson put Saints ahead early on.
Regan Grace added a second try before the break and after Ken Sio responded for Salford on 55 minutes, Mark Percival, Kevin Naiqama and Alex Walmsley scored as Kristian Woolf’s side eased home.
Saints lost closed-season recruit Agnatius Pa’asi and Percival to injuries.
Top-flight new boys Leigh started strongly against Wigan and went 18-0 up inside half an hour througn tries by Liam Hood, Iain Thornley and Ben Hellewell.
Jake Bibby and Zak Hardaker crossed in quick succession before the break, and in the second half, Joe Bullock and Bibby scored within three minutes of each other, with Hardaker’s second conversion proving crucial.
Wigan’s new Australian signing Jai Field was forced off by a hamstring injury which is set to sideline him for six weeks.
St Helens 29 (T: Makinson, Grace, Percival, Naiqama, Walmsley, G: Makinson 4, FG: Welsby) Salford 6 (T: Sio, G: Inu).
Leigh 18 (T: Hood, Thornley, Hellewell, G: Brierley 3) Wigan 20 (T: Bibby 2, Hardaker, Bullock, G: Hardaker 2).