Super League Round One fixtures revealed in Headingley opening feast - and Magic Weekend switched
The campaign - which will be over a shortened 25 rounds - will kick-off with six games in behind-closed-doors double-headers and all shown live on Sky Sports Arena.
The first game of new season sees a repeat of the 2019 Grand Final with reigning Champions St Helens facing last year’s Challenge Cup finalists Salford Red Devils on Friday March 26 in Leeds (6pm) before 2020 runners-up Wigan Warriors take on local rivals and newly promoted Leigh Centurions (8.15pm).
The following day, Wakefield Trinity and Leeds Rhinos lock horns (3pm) before Catalans Dragons face Hull KR (5.15pm).
On the Sunday, new Hull FC head coach Brett Hodgson will start his reign against Huddersfield Giants - with whom he won Man of Steel in 2009 - at 12.30pm ahead of Castleford Tigers rounding off the weekend versus Warrington Wolves (2.45pm).
Following a meeting of the fixtures working group and their recommendations being agreed by the Super League Board, the competition has settled on a revised 25-game format.
The season finale, the Betfred Super League Grand Final will take place as originally scheduled at Old Trafford on Saturday, 9 October.
The change in format is due to the two-week delay from the original March 11 start date announced in December.
There had been talk of scrapping Magic Weekend. That does remain does but due to on-going Covid-19 crowd restrictions at sporting events, the proposed date for the St James’ Park showpiece, has been moved from May to September 4-5.
Super League revealed on Tuesday that their executive chairman Robert Elstone had announced his intention to step down, barely a month before the season’s start.
He was not quoted on the official press release. Instead, chief commercial officer Rhodri Jones said: “With the start of the season a little over a month away, Super League would like to thank all our clubs, Sky Sports, our partners and the RFL for their tireless work in helping us make these announcements today.
“We look forward to continuing to work together throughout the 2021 season to deliver what promises to be another fantastic season.”
“Confirmation that Dacia Magic Weekend remains an important part of the 2021 season shows our commitment to the event and thanks must go to Newcastle United in supporting us to achieve this.
“Whilst it is frustrating for all involved to not be welcoming fans back into our stadiums for the start of the season, we are hopeful that as the situation in the country continues to improve and the vaccine rollout nears completion, we will be seeing fans enjoying live sport again soon.
“We will continue to work with all of our stakeholders to ensure that we are ready to deliver the return of fans in a safe and secure way.”
Full fixtures will be announced on Friday February 26.
Super League club season ticket holders will also be able to watch their teams game via Our League and clubs will be in contact with details of how to access this ahead of the season.
Round 1, Emerald Headingley Stadium (all games live on Sky Sports Arena);
FRIDAY, 26 MARCH (both games live on Sky Sports Main Event and Arena)
ST HELENS v SALFORD RED DEVILS, 6pm
LEIGH CENTURIONS v WIGAN WARRIORS, 8.15pm
SATURDAY, 27 MARCH (both games live on Sky Sports Main Event and Arena)
WAKEFIELD TRINITY v LEEDS RHINOS, 3pm
CATALANS DRAGONS v HULL KR, 5.15pm
SUNDAY, 28 MARCH (both games live on Sky Sports Mix and Arena)
HULL FC v HUDDERSFIELD GIANTS, 12.30pm
CASTLEFORD TIGERS v WARRINGTON WOLVES, 2.45pm
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