Everything you need to know ahead of Friday’s Betfred Super League Round 6 tie between Warrington Wolves and Wigan Warriors at the Halliwell Jones Stadium.
Wigan Warriors travel to Warrington Wolves on Friday night in Round 6 of the Betfred Super League.
The Warriors have had a tough start to the new season, losing four of five league games, including last week’s home defeat to Huddersfield Giants.
In contrast, Warrington have won four of their first five Betfred Super League games and sit third in the table.
Despite the odds stacked against Wigan for Friday’s fixture at the Halliwell Jones Stadium, Head Coach Adrian Lam sees the game as the perfect chance to respond to his team’s slow start to the campaign.
It’s been a different opening period to 2019 for both sides, but on Friday, Wigan and Warrington go head to head for the first time since last year’s Betfred Super League Grand Final where the Warriors created history at Old Trafford…
Joe Greenwood boosts Wigan’s second row options as he returns from a concussion which has kept him out for the last two weeks.
Dan Sarginson also returns and is available for selection, whilst Jake Shorrocks is included for the first time under Lam.
Dom Manfredi is set to be sidelined for up to three weeks, following an injury to his teeth in last week’s defeat to Huddersfield. Liam Marshall also misses out with a knee injury, which is expected to keep him out of action for up to six weeks.
Sam Powell is the third casualty from last week’s loss, as the hooker picked up an ankle injury, keeping him out for two to four weeks.
Prop-forward Taulima Tautai will serve the first of his three-match ban, after he was charged with Grade C - contrary behaviour after appearing to kick out in a tackle during last week’s game against Huddersfield.
Here is Wigan’s 19-man squad:
After wins against Leeds Rhinos, Hull KR, Huddersfield Giants and Castleford Tigers, Warrington have eight points from their opening five league games in 2019.
Steve Price’s side are unbeaten so far at home with three victories and are currently the second highest scorers in the Betfred Super League with 132 points.
For the Wolves’ 19-man squad, Ben Currie, who made his return from injury last week, is named again for the visit of the Warriors.
Bryson Goodwin misses out after picking up an ankle injury in the Wire’s win over Castleford.
Here is Warrington’s 19-man squad:
Who to Watch?
Winger Jake Mamo is certainly one to watch on Friday night.
The 24-year-old joined Warrington in 2019 on a one-year deal after a sensational year at Huddersfield Giants.
Mama played 25 times for the Giants in his two years at the Yorkshire club and scored an impressive total tally of 17 tries.
The Australian started his rugby league career with NRL side Newcastle Knights in 2014, and in 2019 he has made a stand-out start for Warrington’s left edge attack.
A catalyst in Warrington’s attack, Daryl Clark will be crucial for the Wolves on Friday night.
The 26-year-old made his Super League debut with Castleford Tigers in 2011 and he went on to play 94 times for his hometown club, scoring 37 tries in the hooker position, spanning over four years.
In his final season with the Tigers, he won the 2014 Steve Prescott Man of Steel Award. He then went on to make his debut for England in the 2014 Four Nations tournament in Australia.
Clark joined Warrington for the 2015 season and has since played 123 games, scoring 24 tries. He will no doubt be a danger for Wigan’s defence on Friday.
Zak Hardaker vs Stefan Ratchford
Full-back Zak Hardaker has settled in to life at Wigan well.
Hardaker joined the Warriors in 2019 on a four-year deal and Friday’s game could be the sort of night that brings the best out of the 27-year-old.
Hardaker’s rugby league talent is no doubt one of the best in the business and he may prove vital for Wigan’s chances against the Wolves.
Wigan-born and former Wigan St. Pats junior, Stefan Ratchford, is an England international full-back who has won the Challenge Cup and League Leaders’ Shield with Warrington.
After four years at Salford, Ratchford joined the Wire in 2012 and has since played 210 games, whilst posting a massive total of 716 points (77 tries, 203 goals and 2 drop-goals).
In Warrington’s 2018 Super League Grand Final defeat to Wigan, Ratchford was voted the winner of the Harry Sunderland Trophy.
Who will guide their team from the back and produce a moment of magic to separate the two sides?
George Williams vs Blake Austin
A magician inside Wigan’s attack, George Williams has the ability in his locker to take any game by the scruff of the neck and inspire his team to victory.
Williams’ kicking game is key for the Warriors and his watchful eye for a slick pass out wide could be what Wigan need to hurt Warrington’s defence.
The half-back scored six tries in 26 appearances in 2018 and he claimed his second Grand Final ring after the triumph against Warrington.
Blake Austin was Warrington’s marquee signing in the off-season and will be a handful for Adrian Lam’s side on Friday night.
The Portuguese international stand-off is a City Origin representative and he has previously played for Penrith Panthers and Wests Tigers in the NRL.
Austin joined the Wolves for the 2019 season from Canberra Raiders, after a successful three year stint, scoring 34 tries in 88 games.
Who will create something in a flash to give their team the two points on Friday?
Tony Clubb vs Chris Hill
A powerhouse in Wigan’s defence, Tony Clubb has carved out a reputation of a tough tackling and ruthless rugby league prop.
Clubb came off the bench in the 2018 Grand Final win against Warrington, after making 32 appearances throughout the campaign.
The Warriors will need Clubb’s dominant play and cruising runs to damage the Wolves’ line on Friday.
Another Wigan-born, Chris Hill signed for Leigh Centurions from local Wigan amateur club New Springs Lions in 2004.
The prop played 160 games for the Championship side and scored 35 tries in his six years at the club.
Hill made the move to Warrington in 2012, where he has since become a backbone of the Wolves’ team, after appearing in 227 games, being named club captain and featuring in the 2016 Super League Dream Team. He also an England international and will provide problems in the middle for Wigan on Friday night.
Who will produce a firework hit and spark their team to victory?
Did You Know?
Wigan and Warrington have played against each other in three of the last five Super League Grand Finals. The Warriors came out on top on each occasion, winning the 2013, 2016 and 2018 Grand Finals at Old Trafford.
The last 10 meetings in all competitions between the Warriors and the Wolves have come in the last two years. There were six games played between the two sides in 2018, whilst there was four the year before.
Wigan have won their last three games against Warrington and have triumphed on six occasions in the last 10 meetings overall.
The Warriors’ last win at the Halliwell Jones Stadium came in the 2017 Challenge Cup Quarter Final, where Wigan edged a 26-27 epic.
📺 "ANTHONY GELLING HAS PICKED THEIR POCKETS!"— Wigan Warriors 🍒⚪️ (@WiganWarriorsRL) March 11, 2019
An absolute thriller unfolded at the Halliwell Jones back in 2016! Wigan will make the trip again this Friday. #MondayMotivation @AnthonyGelling pic.twitter.com/cF85nrut9L
Willie Isa needs one appearance to reach 100 for Wigan. The second row made his Cherry and White debut in a 12-6 Super League win against the Catalans Dragons at the DW Stadium in 2016.
Speaking at a joint press conference between the two clubs held in the centre of Golden Square Shopping Centre in the heart of Warrington, Lam said: “I feel that we’ve got a great group of men with the experience to turn it around.
“Obviously that hasn’t happened yet, but each week is another opportunity to do that and this week is no different.”
He added: “We feel with the last couple of disappointing performances that this is certainly one to get the players up for and have no excuses.
“We are just going to be focusing on ourselves. There will be a few more changes this week as we try to find some more cohesion between the guys and improve the performances.”
🗣📺 A brand new episode of Warriors Talk is now available on Wigan TV! Joining Joe Mills this week it's the Wigan Head Coach Adrian Lam and half-back Jarrod Sammut!— Wigan Warriors 🍒⚪️ (@WiganWarriorsRL) March 12, 2019
Watch in full here: https://t.co/AgqVG9gPVC pic.twitter.com/Q8lJAOP8wv
The referee at the Halliwell Jones Stadium will be Ben Thaler. Friday night’s clash will be the fourth time Thaler has refereed a Wigan vs Warrington game. The Warriors have won one, lost one and drawn one against the Wolves in the three previous game’s Thaler has been in charge for.
His touch judges are Clint Sharrad and Marcus Griffiths. The video referee is Robert Hicks.
How to Follow
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