Talking Rugby League: Wigan Warriors and Salford Red Devils stand out in opening round

Plenty of people who had watched Wigan in pre-season told me that they would have a very good season once it began.

And on Friday night we saw at Hull Kingston Rovers that they will perhaps be St Helens’ biggest challengers this season.

And, perhaps most important of all, they scored some great tries, in contrast to last season at the DW Stadium.

Already I’m impressed by new Wigan coach Matty Peet, who seems to have forged a great relationship with his assistant coach Lee Briers.

Peet is a many of relatively few words and even fewer facial expressions. I would hate to play poker against him.

But watching them on Friday night, it was hard not to conclude that the team is in good hands and that their recruitment this season, which was derided by some, looks much better than many people were prepared to give them credit for.

I was particularly impressed by Cade Cust, who at this stage looks much better value as a stand-off than Mitchell Pearce does at the Catalans, even though it’s too early to make a firm judgement after only one game.

Salford set to surprise

The other club that shocked their opponents was Salford, who travelled to a sold-out Jungle and put one over Castleford Tigers, mainly thanks for Marc Sneyd’s kicking game.

I get the feeling that the Red Devils could be much better this year than most pundits anticipated and I must admit that I had tipped them to lose at Castleford.

We all need to realise, however, that a spine that includes Ryan Brierley, Brodie Croft and Marc Sneyd will pose plenty of problems for opposing defences.

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