It seems like an age since the final hooter went at Old Trafford in October leading to a positive and long-awaited celebration of Wigan securing the title. This weekend saw the opening round of the 2017 season as they began the defence of their title with Warrington aiming to go one better than their Grand Final loss to the Warriors.
The season opener came from the newly named Totally Wicked Stadium as St Helens hosted Leeds Rhinos.
Both sides look to make a great start after mixed campaigns in 2016 and it was the Rhinos who made the first mark as Joel Moon scored the opening score of 2017 in the 20th minute for 0-4. Saints drew level three minutes after half-time through Theo Fages' effort with Mark Percival converting for 6-4 which proved to be enough to secure the win.
Friday's non-televised action came from the Select Security Stadium as Widnes Vikings hosted Huddersfield Giants.
Charly Runciman went in for the opening try inside just four minutes with Rhys Hanbury converting for 6-0. Huddersfield battled back with tries from Jermaine McGillvary and Lee Gaskell with Danny Brough converting once for 6-10.
A second for McGillvary was followed by an effort from Tom Symonds with a Brough conversion sending the Giants into the interval leading 6-20. They extended their lead through Aaron Murphy before tries from Stefan Marsh and Rhys Hanbury cut the gap to 16-24. Leroy Cudjoe confirmed a 16-28 win for the Giants with a try three minutes from the end.
Castleford Tigers hosted newly promoted Leigh Centurions live on Sky Sports on Friday at the Mend-A-Hose Jungle.
The Centurions held their own for the opening quarter or so before the Tigers took control with Luke Gale and Jesse Sene-Lefao crossing for tries which Gale converted for 12-0. A brace from Greg Minikin either side of a penalty from Gale saw the hosts boast a huge 26-0 lead at the interval.
Junior Moors crossed to bring up the 30 point mark before Ryan Hampshire scored Leigh's first SL try since 2005 for 32-4. Gale claimed his second try ahead of an effort from Greg Eden for 44-4. Leigh had a late rally with Matty Dawson crossing ahead of a 100th career score for Danny Tickle as the match ended 44-16.
Saturday's televised game saw Catalans Dragons host Warrington Wolves at Stade Gilbert Brutus.
The Wolves struck an early opening score with Andre Savelio touching down inside nine minutes with Declan Patton converting for 0-6.
Former Wolves back Richie Myler crossed for the hosts with Luke Walsh levelling just before half-time with a penalty goal.
Greg Bird marked his second debut for the Dragons with a try on 48 minutes with Walsh converting before adding a penalty for 14-6 with 70 minutes played. A try from Rhys Evans (Patton conv) set up a tight finish at 14-12 but the game was sealed in the final minute as Brayden Wiliame crossed with Walsh converting for 20-12.
The game I attended was at the AJ Bell Stadium as Salford Red Devils hosted champions Wigan Warriors.
Wigan raced into a 10-0 lead inside 13 minutes with tries from Oliver Gildart and Joe Burgess with Morgan Escaré converting the latter. Gildart struck again before efforts from George Williams and Joel Tomkins (Escaré convs) gave the Warriors a huge 0-26 lead at the interval.
Salford fought back with Kris Brinning crossing within eight minutes of the restart, Gareth O'Brien converting and they kept the visitors out in the second half with Junior Sa'u and Michael Dobson cutting the gap late on in a 16-26 final score.
The final game of the round came from the Beaumont Legal Stadium as Wakefield Trinity hosted Hull FC.
FC opened the scoring with penalty goal from Marc Sneyd inside seven minutes before he kicked twice more for 0-6 on 20 minutes. Sam Williams kicked a penalty for the hosts for 2-6 and the sides went into the interval just four points apart.
Scott Grix crossed for the first try of the game with Williams converting for 8-6 but FC were to deny the hosts a win with a debut try for Jake Connor with Sneyd converting for an 8-12 victory.