By Sebastian Sternik
Zak Hardaker and Jesse Sene-Lefao are set to play their first competitive game for Castleford Tigers as the West Yorkshire side welcome the newly-promoted Leigh Centurions to the Mend-A-Hose Jungle.
New signing Greg Eden is also expected to start following his return to the club. The 26-year-old began his professional playing career at the Jungle but moved to a number of different clubs before returning to Castleford during the winter break.
The game marks the start of the season for both clubs and a capacity crowd of over 11,000 is expected.
Following a promising pre-season campaign and a number of highly-rated signings, there is a lot of optimism among the Castleford supporters. However, their first game of the season will not be an easy one as Leigh Centurions, who play their first Super League games since 2005, will be looking to make an immediate impact.
Ahead of tonight’s fixture, Tigers head coach Daryl Powell told the club’s website: “Everyone has worked hard in our pre-season games and you can sense that our boys are busting to play. Leigh are a dangerous team and I’ve said it before that newly promoted teams are notoriously difficult to play against so it will be tough.”
Leigh earned promotion after topping the Championship table and then finishing second in the resulting Qualifiers. Similarly to Castleford, the Centurions have also enjoyed a good pre-season campaign with wins over the current Super league title holders Wigan and the Dewsbury Rams.
The visitors’ head coach, Neil Jukes, told BBC Sport: “I’m happy with where we’re at physically and mentally, and we seem like we’re ready to play now. I’m really pleased with what we’ve got, regarding players ready to get their teeth into Super League.”