2017 fixtures: All the key dates you need for new season in Super League, Championship and League One

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  • Opening weekend games: St Helens v Leeds; Wakefield Trinity v Hull FC; Castleford v Leigh; Widnes v Huddersfield
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HULL FC will travel to Wakefield Trinity for the only Yorkshire derby of Betfred Super League’s opening round next year.

The Challenge Cup holders, who finished third this season, are set to visit Belle Vue in the final game of the competition’s first weekend, on Sunday, February 12.

Hull beat Wakefield three times in 2016, winning 22-4 at home and 46-28 away in the regular season before a tense 18-12 victory at Belle Vue in the Super-8s.

That was Hull’s only win following their Challenge Cup final triumph against Warrington Wolves in August.

Wakefield – who have dropped the Wildcats suffix from their club name – will be looking for their first victory since winning 30-28 at Catalans Dragons on July 16.

They finished eighth on the league table this year, climbing four places from the previous season, but lost all their seven fixtures in the Super-8s.

Despite concern from some fans and clubs, matches will again be televised by Sky Sports on Thursday and Friday nights.

Leeds Rhinos, the 2015 treble winners who slumped to ninth this year, will be involved in the competition’s curtain-raiser, away to St Helens on Thursday, February 9.

Rhinos were pipped 38-34 on their previous visit to Langtree Park last April in one of the games of the season.

Castleford Tigers play host to newly-promoted Leigh Centurions – returning to the top-flight for the first time since 2005 – in the following evening’s Sky-televised game at the same time as Huddersfield Giants begin their campaign away to Widnes Vikings.

Giants – who are favourites to sign Leeds’s transfer-listed full-back Zak Hardaker – will be looking to make a fast start after finishing bottom this year.

Super League takes a break after round one for the World Club Series, when Warrington will face England coach Wayne Bennett’s Brisbane Broncos and Cronulla Sharks visit fellow champions Wigan Warriors.

But Leeds and Huddersfield will both be in action in games brought forward from round 11, in April, when teams involved in the Qualifiers this year will begin their Challenge Cup campaign.

Rhinos are Leigh’s first home opponents on Friday, February 17, 24 hours after Huddersfield face Salford Red Devils at John Smith’s Stadium.

There will again be a double round of matches over the Easter weekend.

Huddersfield are at home to Catalans Dragons on Thursday, April 13 and the following day, Good Friday, will see Castleford play host to Wakefield and Leeds visit Hull.

On Easter Monday, Leeds are at home to Widnes, Hull visit Leigh, Castleford are at St Helens, Wakefield entertain Wigan and Huddersfield travel to Warrington.

Controversially, Super League clubs face a similar pileup the following month, when Yorkshire’s contingent are in round 15 action on Friday, May 26 and back-up three days later, on Spring Bank Holiday Monday, May 29.

That will allow the season to finish a week earlier, giving England extra time to prepare for the 2017 World Cup.

Super League will again split into Super-8s and Qualifiers after 23 rounds.

Meanwhile, relegated Hull Kingston Rovers begin life in the Kingstone Press Championship at home to fellow fallen giants Bradford Bulls on Sunday, February 5.

Another Yorkshire derby opener sees Halifax play host to Featherstone Rovers.

Sheffield Eagles – whose future appeared to be in doubt earlier this year – visit Oldham and Dewsbury Rams travel to League One champions Rochdale Hornets.

Batley Bulldogs – under new coach Matt Diskin, who has taken over from John Kear – travel to promoted Toulouse Olympique in their opening fixture the previous afternoon.

In Kingstone Press League 1, Doncaster are at home to Coventry Bears, Hunslet host University of Gloucestershire, and Keighley Cougares welcome North Wales Crusaders on March 5 2017.

But York City Knights are not currently included in the 2017 fixtures.

A statement read: “The RFL is currently liaising with the club in relation to its ownership structure and, subject to resolution of this, the RFL hopes to be in a position to confirm their participation in Kingstone Press League 1 in the next few weeks.

“Regardless of the outcome of these discussions, it is the RFL’s current intention that League 1 will be a 16 team competition in 2017.”

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