The moment we have all been waiting for. That’s correct, Super League is back in action as all 12 clubs gear up for the road to Old Trafford.
Hull FC Vs Huddersfield Giants
One of the two to kick-start the brand new Betfred Super League campaign is an all Yorkshire affair as Hull FC host Huddersfield Giants.
FC of course return as reigning Challenge Cup holders, whereas the Giants secured automatic Super League survival in 2017 and will hope for a better run.
Albert Kelly Vs Danny Brough
The main focus has to be the half-back battle between last years’ Man of Steel contender Albert Kelly and former winner of the award Danny Brough.
Kelly was Hull’s unsung hero in 2017, helping them to a successive Wembley win and third place finish.
Brough has always been a pivotal figure for the Giants and has always been there for Huddersfield when it matters most.
Both possess plenty of attacking skills, though in a different way. Kelly with his brute force and side-stepping whereas Brough possesses a superb kicking game as well as leadership skills.
As a result, both teams will look to both figures for inspiration and could well be the difference in the opening clash here.
Scott Taylor Vs Sebastine Ikahihifo
Next up is a battle of the pack as Hull FC’s own Scott Taylor faces off against Dream Team player Sebastine Ikahihifo.
Taylor enjoyed another strong season with his home town club in 2017, even securing a third Wembley win personally for good measure.
Ikahihifo is easily the Giants’ best forward in this game, going by the 2795 metres and 165 tackle busts last season, he will prove a handful for the Airlie Birds.
Both will be looked to for the hard yards and when coming face to face with each other, should generate more than a bashing.
Fetuli Talanoa Vs Jermaine McGillvary
Finally, a focus on the three-quarters as former Tongan International Fetuli Talanoa will line-up against Golden Boot contender Jermaine McGillvary.
Talanoa featured in 21 appearances for Hull last season, scoring eight tries in what was another successful season by all accounts.
McGillvary was one of the players of 2017, especially at the World Cup where he excelled vigourously. This was on top of his 19 tries for the Giants in 26 appearances.
Both have provided some interesting battles in the meetings over the years as this is the ultimate test of speed, power and support play, something a potent winger requires.
This meeting will be no different as both will be eager to get their respective club off to a flying start to the new season.
Potentially, a very tough game to call as both clubs possess a lot of experience as well as speed and size across the field.
However, having home advantage and, now, less aging players, Hull have the advantage for this one.
They look to have a healthier mix of youth and experience in their squad that provides them with enough squad depth in case of casualties.
Then of course they have a first choice pivot combination in Kelly, Marc Sneyd, Jamie Shaul and Danny Houghton that sees Hull have plenty of attacking options.
Options they can utilise with a powerful set of forwards as well as exciting three-quarters.
The Giants can counter act this but whether Jake Mamo is fully fit and raring to go is in question.
Then there’s others in Ryan Hinchcliffe and whether he still has what it takes, leaving former Hull player Jordan Rankin up for discussion.
This guy can be devastating in attack but if the Giants don’t click as a combination then they will struggle.
They have sizable players themselves but it is all about consistency and whether they have truly improve further under Rick Stone.
It’ll be a tough battle but Hull should see the Giants off in what should be a brutal affair.