Dewsbury Rams will kick off their 2018 campaign with a Friday night clash against Sheffield Eagles.
The Rams played Sheffield three time last season, winning twice while losing the other fixture and chairman Mark Sawyer believes it will be a good test to start the season.
He also revealed that the club asked to play the game on Friday night after a request from the supporters. “We have got Sheffield on a Friday night to start the season and that will be a good test for us,” said Sawyer.
“It will be a good test of character as Sheffield finished slightly above us last season.
“We had a few Friday night games in 2016 and the fans requested that we have a couple of games on Friday nights as it worked well then so we asked for it and will have a few throughout the season.”
Dewsbury will also come up against Rochdale, Swinton and newly-promoted Barrow Raiders in their opening six games as well as hosting London and Toulouse.
Sawyer believes it is key that the side win the games against those teams that finished below them last year if they are to avoid being dragged into a relegation battle.
He said: “It is a very very tough division when you consider you’ve got Toulouse and London at the beginning of the season so if you can win those games who are doing well.
“Swinton and Rochdale are teams which you think may be near the bottom and it is essential for us to win the first fixture against those teams, which isn’t something we did last year.
“Last season we got off to such a bad start that all we could was focus on surviving, this year if we get off on a sounder footing have something to build on.
“It is a leap of faith to say that we have a good chance to finish in the top four but that will be determined over the first few matches. The Rams chairman is also excited by the prospect of a trip across the Atlantic to face the Toronto Wolfpack in mid-June.
He added: “It is quite exciting for the players to have an opportunity to play in Toronto.
“It is going to be quite a task as Toronto have seemed to up their game from last year and we will need to try and be competitive against them.
“It is going to be an interesting season with both Toulouse and Toronto in the division.”
Dewsbury will travel to Toulouse in the final game of the regular season on Saturday, July 28. Other notable fixtures for the Rams are the Heavy Woollen derbies that will take place on Friday, March 30 at Mount Pleasant, May 27 at the Summer Bash and July 22 at the Tetley’s Stadium.