London to take care of Vikings

  • By: Ian Millward
  • Last Updated: February 1 2013, 14:33 GMT

Super League XVIII gets under way on Friday and Castleford coach Ian Millward is back with his tips for week one.

Craig Gower: Can inspire London

It's a tough week to assess with so many changes to coaching and playing staff around the league but Bradford and London look worthy of support on Sunday.

Friday, February 1

Leeds v Hull (+8)

Historically this is a game Leeds have fared well in and they look stronger this year with the addition of Joel Moon who'll give them strike-power in the centres. Hull have made plenty of new signings including ex-Leeds star Gareth Ellis but they'll still be trying to bed in and for that reason I'm going for Leeds. The Rhinos are in a position to hit the ground running and with home-ground advantage they can get off to a flyer.

Verdict: Leeds to cover

Salford (+22) v Wigan

This is a tough game to judge. Salford have a few players coming in and Wigan are missing quite a few - they still have three forwards out of the game. Still, with Sam Tomkins in there and Pat Richards returning it reeks of points for the cherry and whites and they can make a statement here. They've been written off in some quarters as far as their title hopes go and, having beaten the City Reds by 20 points in a friendly in pre-season, they can put down a marker and put plenty of points on the board.

Verdict: Wigan to cover

Saturday, February 2

St Helens v Huddersfield (+12)

These two also met in a friendly with Saints very impressive while Huddersfield didn't score a try. I like the look of St Helens this season. I like that they've brought in Willie Manu and you can expect them to play a more attacking game under former Giants coach Nathan Brown. James Roby looks so fresh after going through an off-season where he didn't have to play internationals and that doesn't bode well for Huddersfield. The Giants finished last season quite poorly and that plays on my mind too. Saints can put on a show in their first home game and I'll take them to cover.

Verdict: St Helens to cover

Sunday, February 3

Bradford v Wakefield (+8)

The big problem for Wakefield is their playmaker Tim Smith is out injured and he was very influential for them last season. Their front-rower Oliver Wilkes is also out and it's an area they could struggle with this week. Bradford looked very good in a friendly against Leeds in the off-season and with home-ground advantage and given the Wildcats are missing a few, I'll take the Bulls to cover the start.

Verdict: Bradford to cover

Hull KR v Catalan (scratch)

A Scott Dureau field-goal won this fixture for the Catalans last season but he's missing on Sunday through injury and he's a massive loss for the Dragons. Catalan have a new coach in while Hull KR have plenty of new additions so there's plenty of mystery about both teams. It's not a game to be getting involved in - a watching brief is advised - but Hull KR could make the most of home advantage and nick this one.

Verdict: Hull KR

London v Widnes (+8)

London were very strong in pre-season especially away at Catalans and Widnes will have virtually the same team as last season out on the field as their two big signings, Gareth Hock and Kevin brown, are unavailable. I think London will start sharp, will be very hard to beat at home and Craig Gower their captain will inspire them to good form like he did at the backend of last season. London can cover and we'll put them in a double with Bradford for the first bet of the season.

Verdict: London to cover

  • Preview posted at 1820 GMT on 31/01/2013.