Warrington head in to the season as many people’s favourites, and they start with what the bookies seem to think is a home banker against Castleford.
Still hurting from last season’s Grand Final defeat to Leeds, the Wolves have not added any new faces to their squad, as they look to have another big tilt at Super League glory.
Castleford boss Ian Millward in contrast has brought in several new faces, after they finished level on points with bottom club Widnes in 2012.
Tigers coach Ian Millward said: “Facing a top shelf side straight away will be a good sounding board for where we are at and what we need to improve.
“We are going in to Sunday’s game very positive and with all new recruits back in the squad, they need to have a big impact.
“We have no specific targets for the first half of the season but our main aim is to be competitive for the full 80 minutes and consistent with the delivery of what we have been working on in training.”
Warrington scored 94 points in their two wins over the Tigers last season, and they will enter the match confident of racking up a few scores, ahead of next week’s grudge match with Wigan.
Warrington 19-man squad: Atkins, Briers, Carvell, Cooper, Evans, Grix, Harrison, Higham, Hill, Hodgson, J Monaghan, M Monaghan, Morley, Myler, Ratchford, Riley, Waterhouse, Westwood, Wood.
Castleford 19-man squad: Owen, Carney, Shenton, Webster, Chase, Ellis, Walker, Clare, Huby, Gilmour, Hauraki, Millington, Emmitt, Milner, Massey, Holmes, Thompson, Tansey, Mason.
Prediction: Hard to look past a Warrington win here – home win.
Warrington have won their last seven meetings (three at home) against Castleford, with the Tigers’ last win coming 28-6 at the Halliwell Jones Stadium on Easter Monday, 2009.
Brett Hodgson has scored points in all nine of his games against Castleford – five for Huddersfield (2009-2010) and four for Warrington (2011-2012).
Warrington’s Joel Monaghan has scored tries in all four of his games against Castleford as follows: 1-1-2-1. Wolves teammate Ryan Atkins has scored tries in his last three matches against the Tigers as follows: 1-2-1.
Super League summary:
Warrington won 24
Castleford won 13
Warrington highest score: 64-6 (A, 2006) (Widest margin: 62-0, H, 2011)
Castleford highest score: 52-26 (H, 2006) (Widest margin: 39-6, H, 1999)