WARRINGTON Wolves’ Testimonial star Ben Westwood has been chosen as one of 14 Super League ‘super heroes’ involved in the RFL’s ‘Extraordinary’ advertising campaign for the 2013 season.
The ‘Rugby League of the Extraordinary’ campaign was a hit when it was introduced late last season, and ‘The Warrington Wrecking Ball’ Ben Westwood seems the perfect choice as Wolves’ representative given his testimonial celebrations this season.
The ‘super’ representatives from other teams include the likes of ‘The Castleford Hawk’ Rangi Chase, ‘The Hulk of Huddersfield’ Eorl Crabtree, ‘The St Helens Dynamo’ James Roby and ‘The Wigan Whirlwind’ Sam Tomkins.
Meanwhile, England coach Steve McNamara has used yesterday’s Super League season launch event to throw down the gauntlet to every English player, offering them the ultimate prize if they live up to their ‘super’ nametag throughout the forthcoming season.
Speaking at the official launch at the Etihad Stadium, Manchester, McNamara challenged every player to set new standards with their clubs and play their way into his selection plans for Rugby League World Cup 2013.
The 14-nation tournament starts just two weeks after the 2013 Super League title is decided in the climactic Grand Final at Old Trafford on Saturday, October 5, by which point every player will have had the opportunity to stake their claim for selection.
“The next 10 months are going to be fantastic as we embark on what I believe is the biggest Super League season in living memory,” said McNamara.
“Every English player who has ambitions of playing in the Rugby League World Cup now has the chance to prove himself in what will be the most intense Super League competition we have seen.
“It is a new campaign where every game will matter. Established players that have been part of the England group since it was created three years ago will want to continue to set the standards and the young talent coming through can also push to be in the squad that will bid to make history this autumn.
“It’s an open selection policy: we are committed to selecting the best players and I hope to see every players produce his best throughout every round of Super League and all the way to the 2013 Grand Final.”
Warrington’s 2013 Super League season starts on Sunday against Castleford Tigers at the Halliwell Jones Stadium, kick off 3pm, but Super League XVIII actually begins two days earlier when champions Leeds Rhinos open their title defence at home to Hull FC on Friday, kick off 8.00pm, and Salford City Reds host 2012 League Leaders Wigan Warriors, kick off 8.00pm.
The Leeds Rhinos v Hull FC fixture will be screened live on Sky Sports 1 and Sky Sports 1 HD, whose cameras will also be at Langtree Park on Saturday night when St Helens entertain Huddersfield Giants, kick off 4.45pm.
As well as Wolves’ season opener, three other Round One matches kick off at 3.00pm on Sunday: Bradford Bulls v Wakefield Trinity Wildcats, Hull Kingston Rovers v Catalan Dragons and London Broncos v Widnes Vikings.
The 2013 season will also feature a return to the popular Monday night Super League action live on Sky Sports from Monday, May 20, when the first of nine ‘Extraordinary Monday’ launches with the mouth-watering clash between Leeds Rhinos and St Helens.
Eight different clubs will host the nine ‘Extraordinary Monday’ matches, which conclude with London Broncos versus Leeds Rhinos on Monday, August 5.
All 14 Super League clubs will head for the season-launch venue, Etihad Stadium on the Bank Holiday weekend of May 25-26 for the unique experience of Magic Weekend, which hosts the event for a second successive year.
The schedule for Magic Weekend 2013 features a spellbinding blend of derbies and arch rivalries and includes four matches at the home of football champions Manchester City on Saturday, May 25 and three on Sunday, May 26.
Magic Weekend opens at noon with Catalan Dragons facing London Broncos before local rivals Castleford Tigers and Wakefield Trinity Wildcats do battle from 2.15pm.
Bragging rights will be no more valuable than in the third match on Saturday, the cross-city derby between Hull FC and Hull Kingston Rovers who face each other in a 4.30pm start before St Helens and Warrington Wolves provide a final flourish from 6.45pm.
The Sunday Magic gets underway at 3.00pm with Salford City Reds versus Widnes Vikings and continues with the West Yorkshire derby, Bradford Bulls versus Huddersfield Giants at 5.15pm.
A memorable weekend will reach a crescendo from with the battle between Grand Final winners Leeds Rhinos and 2012 League Leaders Wigan Warriors, who brings proceedings to a close from 7.30.
The regular season concludes with the Round 27 fixtures over the weekend of September 6-8, after which the top eight clubs enter the intriguing play-off race which culminates in the Super League Grand Final at Old Trafford on Saturday, October 5.
Tickets for the 2013 Super League Grand Final at Old Trafford, Manchester, on Saturday October 5 go on general sale today priced from just £20. Until Monday February 18, fans can also take advantage of an early bird offer giving a £5 discount off a wide range of tickets (exclusions apply). To book tickets please visit www.rugbyleagueticket.co.uk or call 0844 856 1113