The Super League fixtures were released last week and now the first round fixtures in both the Championship and League One have been confirmed for the 2024 campaign.
Both Championship and League One campaigns will start following the 1895 Cup group stage, the new format for the tournament seeing three-team group stages take place during January and early February.
As such the opening round of both divisions will take place in March, a month after the Super League launch, with the Championship’s opening night set to see Wakefield Trinity host Bradford Bulls at Belle Vue in their first game since being relegated from Super League.
It’s a particularly late start to the competition but it allows for the 1895 Cup, in it’s new format, to be completed through to the semi-finals before the league season commences. The 1895 Cup Final will still take place on finals day alongside both the men and women’s Challenge Cup Finals.
In the Championship the pick of the games in the opening round is that first clash with Trinity hosting Bradford, the first league game in Trin’s new era.
Sheffield Eagles travel to Toulouse in a game that pits two 2023 play-off teams against each other, whilst Batley Bulldogs travel to last season’s League Leaders Shield winners Featherstone Rovers.
New boys Dewsbury Rams are handed a home game against Halifax Panthers after having gained promotion via winning League One in 2023, whilst Doncaster host York Knights after coming up through the League One play-offs.
Cumbrians Whitehaven host Swinton, whilst Barrow travel to Widnes to round out the first set of fixtures set for the weekend of March 16th and 17th, following the opening clash on Friday 15th.
As for League One the fixtures have also been confirmed by the clubs although uncertainty remains over Newcastle Thunder’s inclusion in the competition, despite their inclusion in the 1895 Cup draw.
League One will begin alongside the Championship however teams from the third tier have only confirmed their first home game, not simply their opening game.
Round One will see relegated Keighley Cougars host Cornwall on 17th March, whilst Cornwall have confirmed that their first home clash will come in round two as they host North Wales Crusaders.
Midlands Hurricanes have confirmed a first round home game against Rochdale Hornets, whilst the Hornets have themselves confirmed that they will host Hunslet in round two.
Oldham have also confirmed their clash against Rochdale will come in round three marking their first game at Boundary Park.