ROUND One of Super League 2019 has brought plenty of excitement and talking points, writes Nathan Okell.

With a great deal of work going into the marketing of this year’s campaign, it is pleasing to see healthy attendance figures – even for matches covered by television.

The Hull 'derby' at KCOM Craven Park saw a stadium record crowd of 12,100 in attendance, while the 13,098 at The Halliwell Jones Stadium for Wire v Leeds and the 16,508 at the Totally Wicked Stadium for Saints v Wigan on Thursday is great for the game.

> GUARDIAN VERDICT: Warrington Wolves 26 Leeds Rhinos 6

The new Super League rules seem to have gone down a treat with fans, with the introduction of the shot clock being a particular highlight.

Gone are the days of players taking an eternity to form scrums or take drop-outs, with the Saints-Wigan derby lasting almost 10 minutes less than the last time the two sides met in 2018.

If round one has taught us anything, it is that a faster game looks to improve the quality and viewing spectacle.

Let’s hope this trend continues as the season progresses.


Next up for The Wire, following their 26-6 win against Leeds Rhinos, is another Saturday game as they welcome Hull Kingston Rovers to The Halliwell Jones Stadium.

Trailing by two points with just six seconds remaining on the clock, Rovers overcame a tricky Humberside 'derby' in their first outing of the new campaign, with Jimmy Keinhorst going over in the corner at the death to seal a memorable win.

The Robins fell behind to tries from Sika Manu and Matty Dawson-Jones, but took the lead before the half-time break, with three goals from Josh Drinkwater on the back of scores from Mitch Garbutt and Joel Tomkins.

A late try from Bureta Faraimo looked to have sealed a 'derby' victory but Keinhorst had the last say, which will no doubt boost the confidence of his side and their supporters ahead of Saturday’s match-up.

Warrington Guardian:

Jimmy Keinhorst is swamped after his hast-gasp winning try for Hull KR. Picture: Danny Lawson/PA Wire

Elsewhere, nearby rivals St Helens and Wigan played out another epic 'derby' to begin Super League XXIV with a bang.

The Red Vee men emerged with the two points.

Saints raced to a 12-0 lead within 15 minutes thanks to tries from debutant Kevin Naiqama and Jonny Lomax, but Ben Flower and Liam Marshall levelled the scores going into the interval.

Great defence from the home side kept the Warriors scoreless in the second half, with the hosts adding to their tally through Regan Grace and James Roby.

As Wigan were dealt a blow with a two-point deduction for salary cap breaches before Thursday’s game, the Wire are already four points clear of the Cherry and Whites ahead of their highly anticipated round six game.

Warrington Guardian:

Kevin Naiqama scoring on debut for Saints. Picture: Bernard Platt

Living up to the ‘New Beginnings’ tagline, surprising victories for the London Broncos and Salford Red Devils highlighted the standard on show in this year's competition and the fact that there will be no easy games.

Broncos defied the odds to down top-four contenders Wakefield Trinity at their Ealing ground, with two tries apiece for former Wolf Rhys Williams and Eddie Battye securing the two points – the same points total they amassed throughout the whole of their last Super League campaign.

Warrington Guardian:

Eddie Battye celebrates his try for London against Wakefield. Picture: John Walton/PA Wire

Salford, meanwhile, pproduced arguably the performance of the round, condemning Huddersfield to a 34-14 loss in their own back yard.

Full-back Niall Evalds scored a hat-trick and former Hull KR winger Ken Sio scored a brace to add to a score line which could have been larger had the Red Devils not missed five conversion attempts.

Finishing the round was the Castleford Tiger’s 20-4 defeat of Catalans Dragons thanks to a 12-point haul from Paul McShane and a brace of tries from Greg Eden.

Warrington Guardian:

Paul McShane scored 12 points for Cas against Catalans. Picture: Simon Cooper/PA Wire