Super League talking points ahead of the opening round of the 2018 season

Who gets the nod to partner Luke Gale for Castleford?

Daryl Powell has kept his cards close to his chest in regards to his first-choice stand-off. All will be revealed on Friday night. Either Jamie Ellis or youngster Jake Trueman will get the nod to partner the England international at St Helens in the Tigers’ season-opener, with a fair case to be made for either of the duo. It’s Powell’s first big decision of the year – but it won’t be his last, you suspect.

Sam Tomkins: half-back or fullback?

Another big positional dilemma concerns Wigan – and the small matter of where Shaun Wane feels it’s best to fit Sam Tomkins into his team. Tomkins has enjoyed his first full pre-season in almost a decade, but will he play fullback or half-back on Friday at Salford? He told League Express this week he would like to play in the same side as Morgan Escare – which would mean going in at six. Will his coach see it the same way?

Can Chris Chester return to haunt his former side on Friday?

It’s almost two years to the day since Chris Chester was relieved of his duties as Hull KR coach, just three games into the 2016 season. On Friday, he returns to East Hull with a Wakefield side who have made enormous strides under his stewardship, and they will be quietly confident of spoiling Hull KR’s return to Super League under the lights. Can Chester show his former employers first-hand just how much progress he has made as a coach while the Robins have been in the Championship?

Who leaves 2017 behind with a bang at Widnes?

Only a few months have passed since Widnes and Catalans did battle in the south of France, where the loser ended up in the Million Pound Game against Leigh. That day, Widnes emerged victorious and consigned the Dragons to the sudden-death shootout for the final place in Super League this year. On Sunday, they do battle again: and both sides have a golden opportunity to leave the woes of 2017 behind and start this season with a bang. As sides have proven in the past, a fast start could alleviate all worries of the Qualifiers quickly in this structure – so this is a vital game.