Headingley double gives Super League big ‘event’ opener for 2020

LEEDS RHINOS host Hull FC in a first-ever Super League double-header at Emerald Headingley that also sees Castleford Tigers face newcomers Toronto Wolfpack on the opening weekend.

Toronto Wolfpack head coach, Brian McDermott. Picture: Allan McKenzie/SWpix.com

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Super League Fixtures 2020 – Demise of Easter Monday fixtures proves popular

Super League chief executive Robert Elstone is keen to see more ‘events’ in the competition’s calendar and this on Sunday, February 2 certainly fits the bill.

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GRAND PLANS: Super League CEO Robert Elstone. Picture by Paul Currie/SWpix.com

He will also be hoping promoted Toronto can push through with their lucrative bid to sign All Blacks superstar Sonny Bill Williams to add further appeal.

It will be an interesting start for their coach Brian McDermott, who makes his first return to Headingley where he won five Grand Finals with Rhinos before being sacked last year.

Wolfpack have further ‘on the road’ games against St Helens and Wakefield Trinity given the winter in Ontario is too severe to host matches until later in the year.

Their first home match at Lamport Stadium will be against Hull on Saturday, April 18.

Tony Smith’s new-look Hull KR side start the 2020 campaign at home to Wakefield Trinity on Friday, January 31 and Huddersfield Giants begin at Catalans Dragons the following evening.

The headline news, though, is that the traditional Easter Monday fixture has finally been removed from the fixture list to the delight of the majority of players and coaches in the game.

Also, the last round of fixtures will all kick-off at the same time: Friday, September 11 (7.45pm).

Super League chief commercial officer Rhodri Jones said: “We’re delighted to be able to share the full 2020 schedule with our fans, and after a lot of work, are happy with what’s been created.

“Round 1 promises to be a fantastic start to our 25th season with some real heavyweight fixtures.”

Meanwhile, St Helens chairman Eamonn McManus has been fined for criticising the appointment and performance of referee Robert Hicks at this year’s Challenge Cup final.

McManus has been fined £3,000, of which £1,000 is suspended until the end of the 2020 season, for the outspoken comments he made in the wake of his club’s shock 18-4 defeat by Warrington at Wembley in August.

The Rugby Football League say the fine is consistent with previous decisions made in comparable circumstances and that the punishment was reached “by way of an agreed decision in accordance with RFL processes.”

Huddersfield Giants prop Sebastine Ikahihifo, 28, has joined beaten Grand Finalists Salford Red Devils on a season-long loan deal for 2020.