Wigan Warriors head to the Grattan Stadium on Saturday evening in Round 3 of the new engage Super League season. The match against the Bradford Bulls will be significant for a number of the Warriors coaching and playing staff.
Head Coach Brian Noble and Assistant Phil Veivers along with Stuart Fielden and Michael Withers come up against their former employers and make their first returns back to Odsal.
Looking ahead to the clash, Brian told us,
"I am looking forward to it, I have been back a couple of times as a spectator. I am excited about it but I am sure there will be an element of nerves as well. I just hope I go into the right dugout.
"People move on and I have a new challenge now, Bradford are going well with a good team and a good coach. I have nothing but fond memories of my time with them having spent over 30 years at the club. It's important everything is done in the right spirit and I will certainly be doing that."
Asked how he thought the Bradford fans would react to him, he added,
"I'm not sure what sort of reception I will get, hopefully I think a decent one. I think I did well for the club while I was there both as a player and as a coach. I have also gone through some adversity with them as well and got them through that.
"I don't regret anything and I don't regret leaving Bradford. I have fond memories and there still are some good people and it will be great to catch up with them again. It's a great club and I will always think that."
Noble admits he can see similarities to the task he faces with Wigan with what he had early on with the Bulls,
"This is a great club with a great name but you just have to look at the Bradford story in 1995 and it took two or three years to get them back on their feet .They have been at the top of the game for the last 8 or 9 years now.That doesn't happen by accident, it's due to hard work from alot of people and it has to be the same at Wigan."
The Head Coach confirmed his squad of 18 on Friday for the game was unchanged for the third week in a row :-
Chris Ashton, Mark Calderwood, Phil Bailey, Michael Withers, Pat Richards, Trent Barrett, Thomas Leuluai, Stuart Fielden, Mickey Higham, Iafeta Paleaaesina, Gareth Hock, Bryan Fletcher, Sean O'Loughlin, David Vaealiki, Shane Millard, Paul Prescott, Harrison Hansen and Eamon O'Carroll.
The Bradford Bulls 18 :-
Hape, Deacon, Vagana, Newton, I. Harris, Morrison, Vainikolo, Lynch, Evans, B. Harris, Platt, Solomona, Cook, Henderson, St Hilaire, Feather, Burgess, McAvoy.
A reminder the game has a 6pm kick off and the referee for the clash is Ashley Klein.
Are you thinking of travelling? Why not take the strain out of the journey and takes the club’s ‘Official Travel Service’ organised by Fraser Eagle. You will be collected in Wigan centre at 3:30 pm by quality coaches and transported direct to the Grattan Stadium and then returned after the game.
The cost of the trip is just £10 and can be booked direct by calling Fraser Eagle now on 08700 116 117 - travel with your fellow fans and get behind the Warriors as they attempt to derail the Bulls charge at the start of engage Super League XII. Discounts are available for concessions and club members.A reminder that under 16's must be accompanied on coaches by an adult.