After the big opener on Thursday night between Warrington Wolves and Leeds Rhinos, Betfred Super League XXVIII heralds the return of the newly-renamed Leigh Leopards on Friday as Adrian Lam's side join three other teams in making their season debuts.
Here is everything you need to know about Friday's slate of action.
Wakefield Trinity v Catalans Dragons
Where: Be Well Support Stadium, Wakefield.
When: 7.30pm (GMT)
TV: No live screening
Wakefield’s last five: Lost 14-16 @ Huddersfield (02/09/22), Won 34-18 @ St Helens (29/08/22), Won 18-6 v Hull KR (25/08/22), Won 26-18 @ Hull FC (19/08/22), Won 30-12 v Wigan (14/08/22)
Catalans’ last five: Lost 10-20 v Leeds (09/09/22 - eliminator), Lost 4-48 @ Wigan (02/09/22), Won 32-18 v Leeds (29/08/22), Won 24-14 @ Toulouse (24/08/22), Lost 14-46 v Salford (20/08/22)
Betfred match winner odds (80 minutes): Wakefield 13/10, Catalans 4/6, draw 20/1
Handicap betting (Wakefield +3.5): Wakefield 20/21, Catalans 4/5
Should Fouad Yaha make an appearance, it will be his 150th for Catalans Dragons since his 2015 debut against Hull Kingston Rovers.
Round 22, 2022: Wakefield Trinity 16, Catalans Dragons 20
Round 2, 2022: Catalans Dragons 24, Wakefield Trinity 22
Round 16, 2021: Catalans Dragons 40, Wakefield Trinity 20
Round 5, 2021: Wakefield Trinity 18, Catalans Dragons 38
Round 16, 2020: Catalans Dragons 40, Wakefield Trinity 8
Total Super League meetings: 41 (Wakefield 18, Catalans 23, no draws)
Mark Applegarth leads Wakefield into action for the first time after succeeding Willie Poching as Trinity's head coach. By most observers' reckoning, a tough task lies ahead for a Trinity side which has finished 10th in its last three Betfred Super League campaigns and now has to compete with a rejuvenated club in Leigh Leopards if they are to stave away the dreaded drop in 2023.
Catalans are expected to be in the mix again after following their 2018 Challenge Cup win with a League Leaders' Shield triumph in 2021 and a third straight visit to the play-offs in '22. But having been dumped out at the first round of the finals comp last year, Steve McNamara will want his multi-talented squad to fight back hard, and former Wakefield man Tom Johnstone is among a small but stacked list of new additions featuring Manu Ma'u and Sio Siua Taukeiaho.
Sportsman stat: If Trinity lose they will set a new record of five straight home games in opening-round fixtures in the Betfred Super League.
Leigh Leopards v Salford Red Devils
Where: Leigh Sports Village, Leigh.
When: 8.00pm (GMT)
TV: Sky Sports Arena
Leigh’s last five: Lost 24-42 @ Huddersfield (19/09/21), Won 26-18 v Wakefield (12/09/21), Lost 6-44 v Hull KR (05/09/21), Lost 0-64 @ Catalans (30/08/21), Lost 12-42 @ St Helens (26/08/21)'
Salford's last five: Lost 12-19 @ St Helens (17/09/22 - semi-final), Won 28-0 @ Huddersfield (10/09/22), Lost 14-32 v Warrington (03/09/22), Won 50-10 @ Castleford (29/08/22), Won 28-18 v Hull FC (25/08/22)
Betfred match winner odds (80 minutes): Leigh 6/5, Salford 8/11, draw 18/1
Handicap betting (Leigh +3.5): Leigh 5/6, Salford 10/11
With one more try, Leigh's Tom Briscoe will bring up 150 in Super League, having scored 66 times in his nine years with Leeds Rhinos and 83 in six seasons at Hull FC.
Round 20, 2021: Leigh Centurions 32, Salford Red Devils 22
Round 4, 2021: Salford Red Devils 34, Leigh Centurions 8
Round 23, 2017: Leigh Centurions 25, Salford Red Devils 0
Round 14, 2017: Leigh Centurions 22, Salford Red Devils 36
Round 9, 2017: Salford Red Devils 12, Leigh Centurions 6
Total Super League meetings: 8 (Leigh 2, Salford 6, no draws)
It's a huge night for the town of Leigh, as the Leopards make the most of the national spotlight with a major pre-match bill of entertainment ahead of their return to the Betfred Super League. Pop group Scouting For Girls headline a schedule which will include pyrotechnics and a big reveal of the club's new mascot.
Once all of that is over with it will be on Adrian Lam's players to back the off-field noise with a display worthy of the top tier. They have been boosted in the off-season with the injection of Gareth O'Brien, Ricky Leutele, Zak Hardaker, Tom Briscoe, Ava Seumanufagai and a number of other Super League-ready stars.
Salford have, of course, hit the headlines in the past couple of weeks with the news that reigning Steve Prescott Man of Steel, Brodie Croft, has signed a new eight-year contract which is set to keep him at the AJ Bell Stadium until the end of the 2030 season. Having come within 80 minutes of the Grand Final in 2022, the Red Devils have recruited somewhat cautiously, with smart additions of the likes of Ollie Partington and Adam Sidlow, meaning they have supplemented rather than overhauled their squad from 12 months ago.
Sportsman stat: Leigh have never won in the opening round of Super League in their three previous top-flight seasons in the summer era, and have never escaped relegation.
*18+ | BeGambleAware | Odds Subject to Change