Two of last year’s top six meet in Round One this season as both look to start the campaign as they mean to go on and again secure their place in play-offs. For Hull KR 2021 was the stuff of dreams and this season is all about building on it. But for Wigan last year was a lukewarm campaign and this year represents a fresh start.
Last season Hull KR did the double over the Warriors with their attacking brand of rugby helping them dismantle the Cherry and Whites especially at Craven Park. That style of rugby will be key to the success they hope to achieve in 2022 as will new signings Lachlan Coote and Sam Wood. With some outstanding recruitment done in the off-season, the sky’s the limit for the Robins in 2022.
Recruitment could be the key for Wigan as well this year. You get the feeling that where they finish will be determined by how the likes of Kaide Ellis and Cade Cust settle into the club. If they can excel at Wigan and Matty Peet’s new philosophies bed in, there’s no reason why the Warriors can’t challenge for the trophy this year.
This battle between the sides who finished sixth and fourth last year can be seen on Sky Sports Main Event and Arena and kicks off at 8pm.
Hull KR have a few noticeable absentees with Elliot Minchella still not available having missed virtually all of last season. He’ll instead play on dual-registration at Dewsbury this weekend whilst Ben Crooks also misses out. New signings Lachlan Coote and Sam Wood are both included and have a very strong possibility of starting. 2021 Man of Steel nominee Jordan Abdull figures but the question remains who will line up alongside him with both Mikey Lewis and Rowan Milnes named.
21-man squad: 1 Lachlan Coote, 3 Brad Takairangi, 4 Shaun Kenny-Dowall, 5 Ryan Hall, 7 Jordan Abdull, 8 Albert Vete, 9 Matt Parcell, 10 George King, 11 Dean Hadley, 12 Kane Linnett, 13 Matty Storton, 14 Jez Litten, 16 Korbin Sims, 18 Jimmy Keinhorst, 19 Will Dagger, 20 Mikey Lewis, 21 Rowan Milnes, 24 Sam Wood, 25 Greg Richards, 26 Tom Garratt, 27 Frankie Halton.
The big news for Wigan is that Zak Hardaker features in the squad having missed most of pre-season. There is of course no Bevan French after having spent all the off-season in Australia. Beyond his absence, everything is pretty much plain sailing for the five-time Super League Champions with new signings Iain Thornley, Cade Cust, Patrick Mago, Kaide Ellis, and Abbas Miski all included. Meanwhile, Jai Field is named after a superb performance against Warrington in a pre-season friendly.
21-man squad: 2 Jake Bibby, 3 Zak Hardaker, 4 Iain Thornley, 5 Liam Marshall, 6 Cade Cust, 7 Thomas Leuluai, 8 Brad Singleton, 9 Sam Powell, 10 Patrick Mago, 11 Willie Isa, 12 Liam Farrell, 13 John Bateman, 14 Morgan Smithies, 15 Kaide Ellis, 16 Harry Smith, 17 Oliver Partington, 20 Liam Byrne, 21 Kai Pearce-Paul, 22 Joe Shorrocks, 23 Jai Field, 24 Abbas Miski.