Following the visit of our “bigger brothers” of the Southern Hemisphere, the show goes on the European game as Super League prepares for week two.
An English club were crowned world champions for the first time in five years, meaning the rest of Super League are left as challengers for that glory.
Two third of clubs are now off the mark but it that increase or will it remain? Check out the previews and gain an insight!
Hull FC Vs Catalan Dragons
First up is a heavyweight clash between Hull FC and Catalan Dragons at the KCOM Stadium.
Hull have Albert Kelly suspended as well as Dean Hadley injured, but they welcome back Steve Michaels.
The Dragons meanwhile, have named Iain Thornley for a possible debut against his former arch-rival club plus Louis Anderson is back from injury.
A tough one as both possess very strong squads in terms of experience as well as depth.
If you look at the Airlie Birds, they have retained many of their stars from last season who will no doubt maintain their form from last season, especially in front of their noisy crowd.
Kelly will be a miss but Carlos Tuimavave can come into cover and caused plenty of problems for opposition alongside Marc Sneyd.
Their forward pack is boisterous, led by Scott Taylor and Liam Watts as well as Man of Steel Danny Houghton.
And who could forget the duo of Gareth Ellis and Mark Minichiello to come in as back-up in attack and defence.
Don’t underestimate Catalan though as they surprised many when they toppled Warrington.
They possess much power and speed themselves, in the backs with Jodie Broughton and Krisnan Inu as well as the forwards in Remi Casty and former FC star Sam Moa.
With Luke Walsh and Richie Myler at halfback, Catalan will once prove to be tough opposition to cope with.
They could even pull off a win but overall, Hull will be favourites and should attain another two points here.
In front of their fans, Hull will be buoyed by the increasing figures of people in attendance and retaining many of such a talented squad, this experience will only see them improve.
They had it tough at Wakefield in the rain but managed to grind out an away win which is evident of their skill.
Catalan were impressive themselves over Warrington but are still in transition and have demonstrated their consistency, especially in recent times.
Hull for a win but it will be a tough test as Sky should be in for a treat!
Prediction: Hull FC 34-22 Catalan Dragons
Huddersfield Giants Vs Wakefield Trinity RLFC
Heading up the M62 westbound for an all Yorkshire affair sees Huddersfield Giants tackle Wakefield Trinity at the John Smith’s Stadium.
The Giants are without Michael Lawrence for the fixture, but welcome in youngster Tyler Dickinson.
Wakefield meanwhile, are unchanged from their narrow defeat to Hull.
Yet another close one to call and even though some may say otherwise, it’s hard seeing past another tight squeeze here.
The Giants will be seeking a return to winning ways after their disappointment against Salford whereas Wakefield are looking to open up their 2017 season account.
Huddersfield do have a strong squad and should all their pivots in Lee Gaskell, Danny Brough, Ryan Brierley and Ryan Hinchcliffe find a rhythm, Wakefield’s time will be tough.
However, the visitors can counter act such a threat in Liam Finn, Sam Williams, Jacob Miller and former Giants Scott Grix.
The three-quarter line is where the Giants have a slight advantage but the match will be won in the forward pack, which is where Wakefield are superior.
Wakefield have the more experience and depth as the Giants have had to name multiple youngsters already and this is where their poor recruitment comes into play.
The Giants have an exciting array of youngsters along with Sam Rapira and Shannon Wakeman, but the task currently is too huge for them to provide depth consistently.
Wakefield’s pack in David Fafita, Danny Kirmond, Craig Huby and Anthony Walker will overwhelm the Giants’ youth and will lay the platform down for their halfbacks to inflict further damage.
Wakefield to kick-start 2017 in a match that has the look of an early four pointer towards he Super 8s!
Prediction: Huddersfield Giants 16-24 Wakefield Trinity RLFC
Leeds Rhinos Vs Salford Red Devils
Marching on together back to Headingley Carnegie Stadium as Leeds Rhinos face Salford Red Devils.
The Rhinos are unchanged from their narrow win against Leigh, whereas Salford are without the suspended Justin Carney but welcome back Ryan Lannon after playing dual-registration for Halifax.
An interesting one as the Rhinos are still struggling for their historic top form of Super League, whereas Salford are always a ‘banana skin’ side.
The Rhinos’ attack hasn’t been convincing and many say they were fortunate to get Leigh beat last week.
Salford can beat anyone on the day but have been inconsistent in recent seasons and 2017 so far is no different.
Close one but Leeds should just see off their visitors, especially in front of their loyal support.
Both sides have strong forward packs and half-backs but the match will be won in the three-quarters, which is where Leeds are superior.
Leeds have sheer power and speed across all four and Salford without their ‘tank on the flank’ lack the excitement needed for try scoring as well as staying strong in defence.
Back-to-back wins for the Rhinos but Salford should provide a stern challenge for the ‘fallen champions’.
Prediction: Leeds Rhinos 31-24 Salford Red Devils
Leigh Centurions Vs St Helens
Across the Pennines for an all-western clash as Leigh Centurions face St Helens at the Leigh Sports Village.
Leigh have made two squad changes as Antoni Maria and Ryan Hampshire vacate and coming in are James Green and new addition Curtis Naughton, plus Lachlan Burr returns from dual-registration.
Their visitors meanwhile have lost Joe Greenwood to the NRL respectively but Louie McCarthy-Scarsbrook returns from injury plus Adam Walker is named.
Possibly the easiest to call thus far or will it be as the Saints have had tendencies to slip up against ‘inferior’ opposition, especially in the early stages.
Who could forget this round last season that saw them annihilated at Salford so are Leigh good enough to emulate such heroics?
Maybe if their squad was a little ‘younger’ as their older players may be worn out by the Saints.
St Helens struggled to click against Leeds but having already played and being on the road will defuse some pressure.
James Roby and Thomas Lee will provide a troubling interchange at hooker to lead their forwards and with Theo Fages to follow up, the Saints should see off Leigh.
The Centurions will produce bouts of resistance, having their own talents of Mitch Brown, Eloi Pelissier, Josh Drinkwater and Cory Paterson to name a few.
But this task is just too huge as Leigh maybe need a couple more recruits as well as time to gel and properly adjust to Super League life.
Prediction: Leigh Centurions 20-34 St Helens
Warrington Wolves Vs Castleford Tigers
Now onto Cheshire as World Club Series victors Warrington face hot prospects Castleford in a mouth-watering clash at the Halliwell Jones Stadium.
Fresh from their famous win over Brisbane, the Wolves remain unchanged and expectedly so whereas the Tigers are without Paul McShane, but Joel Monaghan returns to face his former club.
Perhaps the pick of the weekend’s action and surprisingly left away from the Sky TV cameras.
Nevertheless, the show goes on but who will triumph? Warrington to open their account or Castleford to make it two from two?
The Wolves may be buoyed from their trip out last week but against such opposition, it may have taken quite a bit out of them.
Kevin Brown looked impressive in his debut and alongside Kurt Gidley, will be dangerous throughout.
Their forwards are also impressive in Chris Hill, Ashton Sims and Andre Savelio, all able to make plenty of yards as well as possess longevity.
Castleford are full of quality also and have a similar pack of forwards; from experience in Andy Lynch and Grant Millington to upcoming stars in Gadwin Springer and Mike McMeeken.
Plus Rangi Chase and Luke Gale line up at halfback, with Ben Roberts to interchange off the bench to provide a flowing pivot combination.
A very tough one and it may surprise some but the Tigers may edge this one, purely as they have had more rest time and faced inferior opposition.
Yes, this can catch a club off guard but Castleford looked the deal and can take advantage of any ‘lingering sore patches’ the Wolves may have sustained from Brisbane.
Super League is always full of surprises and this match is no exception as the Tigers should edge this one but it can go either way so who knows!
Prediction: Warrington Wolves 24-25 Castleford Tigers
Wigan Warriors Vs Widnes Vikings
Finally, the newly crown champions of the world, Wigan Warriors host Widnes Vikings.
Wigan are unchanged from their World Club Challenge triumph, whereas Widnes have suffered a blow as Tom Gilmore is out for 10 weeks through injury.
Many will only see one winner here and it won’t take “three guesses who?”
The Warriors look superior in all departments, speed, strength, experience, depth and home advantage, who can see them losing?
Enter underdogs Widnes, who may take advantage of any hangovers from the World Club Challenge.
This will assist them in producing period of resistance against Wigan and it may be closer than some think.
However, Wigan have ‘the high ground’ and will maintain their unbeaten start.
They struggled in attack last season but 2017 has seen them resolve that and against what can be called an understrength Widnes team who have their ‘halfback jinx’.
Wigan should dominate from the word go, just as they have done in their previous outings.
George Williams and Tom Leuluai will leave the Vikings in their wake.
Widnes do have Rhys Hanbury and Aaron Heremaia at pivot to pull a few strings and provide some stern stuff.
Otherwise, the win is Wigan’s for the taking though it was in the Super 8s and somehow, it slipped through their grasp.
It could happen here but it looks unlikely.
Prediction: Wigan Warriors 38-16 Widnes Vikings