Wakefield and Hull FC get their seasons underway at the Beaumont Legal Stadium on Sunday afternoon in a 3pm kick-off. This should be an intriguing game after Hull topped the table after the regular season (23 rounds), but missed out on the League Leaders’ Shield after stuttering in the Super 8s. Wakefield avoided the qualifiers in 2016 after finishing 8th but they also performed poorly in the Super 8s.
Hull have had a mixed pre-season in which they defeated Toronto and Doncaster, but they lost out, albeit with a weaker squad, against Hull KR but with slightly stronger squads against Salford and Castleford. Lee Radford’s side come into the season with a few injuries, but they will be favourites to take the two points on Sunday as they look to start the season with a bang.
Josh Griffin is relishing his Hull FC debut against former club Wakefield Trinity and told the Hull FC website: “I’m excited for the first round of Super League, going back to my hometown club. I would have rather it be at home but I’ll have to wait until the week after.”
Last season Wakefield lost all three of their matches against a strong Hull FC side, including a Super 8’s defeat at Belle Vue, so they will want to overturn their fortunes against such an impressive side that has strengthened well in the off-season.
Wakefield come into this game after a 50-6 win over the Sheffield Eagles in pre-season with many of their first team players using the fixture to get into their stride before the new season. New signing Mitch Allgood told the Wakefield website that he is excited for the start of the season: “It’s the fun part now, it’s time to do business. I think we’ve got an outstanding squad, there’s competition all over the park.” Allgood is expecting a stronger season for Trinity and says the aim is to go much further and improve on their eighth-place finish last season.
Wakefield squad: Squad: Annakin, Arona, Ashurst, Crowther, England, Fifita, Finn, Grix, Huby, Jones-Bishop, Johnstone, Kirdmond, Lyne, Miller, Sio, Tupou, Walker, Williams, Wood.
Hull FC squad: Shaul, Fonua, Tulmavave, Griffin, Talanoa, Kelly, Sneyd, Taylor, Houghton, Watts, Minichello, Ellis, Connor, Green, Thompson, Washbrook, Michaels, Manu, Turgut.
Referee: Chris Campbell
Touch-judges: J Smith and R Thompson