The NRL gets underway this weekend, alongside a full set of Super League, Championship and Championship 1 fixtures. All, of course, weather permitting.
The Betfred Super League is spread over four days, as is the NRL, with the bulk of Championship and Championship One games being played on Sunday afternoon.
With so few games being played last weekend the majority of teams will be looking forward to blowing away the cobwebs after a fortnight confined to the training field.
The Super League round gets underway on Thursday night as the Rhinos welcome Hull FC to an unrecognisable Headingley with the visitors looking for their first away win in Leeds for eleven years. The bookies can only see a Leeds win. Friday has two matches with Warrington Wolves the underdogs in hosting St Helens in the televised game while Widnes Vikings are the favourites when they take on a struggling Huddersfield Giants on the artificial pitch.
Saturday sees the Catalans Dragons host Hull KR as they look for their first points of the season to quiet an increasingly anxious home crowd, the bookies are confident that they will do it. The remaining two games take place on Sunday when the unbeaten Wakefield Trinity look to continue their excellent start to the season at the Wigan Warriors, with the bookies fancying the home side and Champions elect Castleford Tigers are the strong favourites as they look for their third win of the season against the Salford Red Devils.
All of the Betfred Championship games take place at 15:00 on Sunday afternoon. One hundred percenters London Broncos are at home to the Batley Bulldogs while fellow joint leaders Toulouse travel to the Dewsbury Rams and Featherstone Rovers are at home to whipping boys the Swinton Lions. There can only be one winner as Toronto travel to Sheffield to take on a pointless Eagles, and Barrow have a tough trip to Rochdale to take on the Hornets. The final game should be a classic as Halifax host the Leigh Centurions who will be looking to keep playing for the full eighty this week.
The London Skolars face Newcastle Thunder on Saturday afternoon with the remainder of games being played on Sunday. The early kick off is Hemel Stags at home to the Coventry Bears with the current league leaders (after one game) Doncaster hosting Whitehaven. Hunslet Hawks play the North Wales Crusaders, Oldham entertain the York City Knights and Workington Town await the arrival of the West Wales Raiders. The game of the day could be at Cougar Park where near neighbours Bradford Bulls are the visitors for an intense local derby.
SKY have taken over the broadcast of the NRL in 2018 and will broadcast three games per weekend. This week they are showing the opening round fixtures between St George Illawarra Dragons and Brisbane Broncos on Thursday morning and back to back games between Newcastle Knights and Manly, and the North Queensland Cowboys and Cronulla Sharks on Saturday morning.
On Sunday there are three games as Wests take on Sydney Roosters, South Sydney Rabbitohs entertain the New Zealand Warriors and Canterbury Bulldogs start the season with a home game against Melbourne Storm. The remaining two games are on Sunday as Penrith play the Paramatta Eels and the Gold Coast Titans play the Canberra Raiders.