As part of the run-up to Super League 2017, we’ll be posing three big talking points surrounding each of the 12 sides as they kick their campaigns off this weekend. Here’s a look at the first game for defending champions Wigan, as they travel across Lancashire to face Salford.
Have they finally got the much-needed stability they’ve been looking for?
Stability is vital if Salford are to kick on from last season and avoid another bottom-four finish. Former player Ian Blease has steadied the ship as chief executive off the field and head coach Ian Watson has improved his playing squad.
Has Marwan Koukash learned when and where to air his voice?
Marwan Koukash divides opinion but he has now been in charge for four years. The former Palestinian refugee must avoid public spats with the RFL and focus on making Salford a serious force.
Will the fans start to get behind the team now?
Building a crowd is something the Red Devils have failed to do since moving to the AJ Bell Stadium but hopefully Ian Blease, a genuine Salford icon himself, can help to change that.
Can Sam Tomkins get back to his best?
Tomkins has not quite been the same player since he returned to Wigan from the New Zealand Warriors. His pace – such a precious commodity in the modern game – appears to be on the wane and Morgan Escaré will look to steal his fullback berth with Tomkins sidelined until April.
Is Joe Burgess destined to lead the league in try-scoring?
The returning Burgess is a precocious young talent and it would be no surprise to see the winger finish as Super League’s top scorer in 2017.
Can Shaun Wane lead the Warriors to glory again?
Wigan exist to win trophies and last season’s Grand Final success underlined the qualities of head coach Wane, who ultimately answered his critics in style.