2nd February 2020, 19:10 | super_league
St Helens delivered an emphatic opening-round victory for new coach Kristian Woolf as they made a confident start to the defence of their Betfred Super League title.
A 48-8 victory over Salford in their Grand Final rematch at the Totally Wicked Stadium was even more convincing than their 23-6 triumph at Old Trafford in October.
The champions were without four members of their Grand Final team because of injury, including skipper James Roby, but 18-year-old Jack Welsby illustrated the depth of talent at Woolf’s disposal as he slotted effortlessly into the team.
Wigan earned a hard-fought 16-10 win over 12-man Warrington.
The Wolves had captain Chris Hill sent off after 22 minutes for a high tackle on Sam Powell which resulted in a penalty try and they also had his fellow front-rower Mike Cooper sin-binned 17 minutes from the end for obstruction.
Against all the odds, the visitors put up a valiant effort and it was only while they were down to 11 men that Wigan scored their decisive third try.
Sonny Bill Williams’ eagerly-awaited return to rugby league proved to be something of an anti-climax as Toronto suffered a 28-10 defeat to Castleford in their first-ever Super League match at Headingley.
The former All Black was introduced from the bench 26 minutes into his new club’s opening match of the season with them trailing 10-6 and was unable to reverse their fortunes.
The visitors bossed the show, with new half-back pair Jake Trueman and Danny Richardson the architects of an impressive victory.
Like Castleford, Hull are finding Headingley to their liking after opening their campaign with an impressive 30-4 win over Leeds.
Former British Army private Ratu Naulago, who enjoyed a prolific first season in Super League, made his mark with two tries and a wonderful save as Hull silenced a capacity 19,500 crowd.
Aidan Sezer took the limelight away from Israel Folau in Perpignan with an incredible debut performance for Huddersfield.
The former Canberra Raiders scrum-half scored 16 points as the Giants ignored the script and totally dominated an indisciplined and disorganised Catalans Dragons side who crumbled to a 32-12 defeat.
Sezer eclipsed the performance of his fellow Australian debutant as James Maloney failed to fire for the Dragons alongside Josh Drinkwater as Folau was kept under wraps by the home side.
Ben Crooks scored four tries as Hull KR opened their campaign with a 30-12 victory over Wakefield in an error-strewn encounter at Craven Park.
Tony Smith’s new-look side were well led by new recruit Shaun Kenny-Dowall who was one of four debutants who started for the home outfit.
Wakefield coach Chris Chester was left counting the cost of an ACL injury to influential scrum-half Danny Brough.
Thursday, January 30
Wigan Warriors 16-10 Warrington Wolves
Friday, January 31
Hull Kingston Rovers 30-12 Wakefield Trinity
St Helens 48-8 Salford Red Devils
Saturday, February 1
Catalans Dragons 12-32 Huddersfield Giants
Sunday, February 2
Toronto Wolfpack 10-28 Castleford Tigers
Leeds Rhinos 4-30 Hull FC