The Ladbrokes Challenge Cup bursts back into life with this weekend’s Third Round fixtures, and while there’s a set of cracking ties on the horizon, it’s fair to say that most eyes will be on Canadian outfit Toronto Wolfpack, as they head to Siddal.
But with underdogs looking to upset the odds, and some tasty all-League 1 clashes, it’s been hard to narrow down the top three ties to keep an eye out for in this. Just for you.
Siddal v Toronto Wolfpack
The tournament’s first North American entrants have attracted plenty of attention, and it’s no wonder. In addition to their location, the League 1 outfit have snapped up players from the likes of Warrington Wolves and Salford Red Devils, as well as Wales international Daniel Fleming.
Wolfpack coach Paul Rowley will be confident of a win with the players at his disposal, in their first competitive game on these shores – but they won’t get an easy ride against the 2016 National Conference League winners.
And you can watch this potential cup classic wherever you are, with the BBC Sport website streaming this inter-continental clash from 13:00 on Saturday February 25.
West Hull v Whitehaven
Haven will be desperate to make a positive start to their season, having suffered relegation from the Championship last season. But they face a West Hull side with plenty of experience in punching above their weight, having reached at least the Third Round in each of the last five years.
That means this has the ingredients to be a must-watch tie, with the visitors also likely to give fans a first proper look at off-season signings like Paul Crook and Tommy Holland.
South Wales Ironmen v Oxford
It’s an all-League 1 affair as Oxford head to the Ironmen’s new home at The Wern this weekend, and all the signs point to this being a close and gripping game.
The Blues impressed in victory over Coventry Bears in the League 1 Cup to kick off this campaign, and won 20-12 against the Welsh outfit here last season – though the reverse fixture did end up 38-20 to the Ironmen (then named South Wales Scorpions).
Add to that the fact it was impossible to split this pair during the regular season in 2016, and it’s clear that this one could – and probably will – go right down to the wire.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing