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Super League match preview: Widnes Vikings vs Warrington Wolves

Date: 18/07/2014
Venue: Select Security Stadium
Kick-off: 8:00pm GMT

Teams

Widnes Vikings 19 man squad:

Dave Allen, Kevin Brown, Hep Cahill, Liam Carberry, Jon Clarke, Chris Dean, Paddy Flynn, Danny Galea, Alex Gerrard, Rhys Hanbury, Willie Isa, Paul Johnson, Ben Kavanagh, Macgraff Leuluai, Stefan Marsh, Joe Mellor, Jack Owens, Cameron Phelps, Danny Tickle

Warrington Wolves 19 man squad:

Roy Asotasi, Ryan Atkins, Chris Bridge, Ben Currie, Brad Dwyer, Anthony England, Rhys Evans, Ben Harrison, Micky Higham, Chris Hill, Toby King, Gareth O’Brien, Gene Ormsby, Joe Philbin, Stefan Ratchford, Glenn Riley, Matthew Russell, Ben Westwood, Paul Wood

Preview

As the Super League reaches the business end, two sides with very different aspirations meet at the Select Security Stadium as play-off hopefuls Widnes Vikings play host to title challengers Warrington Wolves.

Last time these two met was Good Friday and it ended in the Wolves handing out a heavy defeat to Widnes in a dominant 44-6 victory in the first instalment of the local derby.

Warrington will be vowing to replicate Widnes who recorded a derby double last year which gave the team’s fans the bragging rights for at least 12 months however, the Wolves have a chance to end that come Friday night.

Widnes are struggling and their recent form has seen them slip to eighth place in the league table with just one point separating them from ninth placed Hull KR. The home side have won just one of their last 6 games which was a 24-42 victory away to London Broncos although, they didn’t travel so well against Wakefield last week as they slumped to a disappointing 12-10 defeat.

One thing the two sides have in common is that their last victory was against the now relegated London and it was Warrington who decided their fate last week as they tore the Broncos apart 72-12. Unlike Widnes though, that was Warrington’s ninth straight victory in Super League and you have to go as far back as the beginning of May to find a Wolves loss when Bradford pulled off a shock 34-28 victory.

Dennis Betts will be worried with his team’s poor run of form and a victory against their bitter local rivals would be a huge boost as they go into a vital period of the season. Likewise, Warrington will be looking to secure a tenth straight victory and apply pressure on the top two hoping that they slip up this weekend.

Betts has made a number of changes with Cameron Phelps and Jack Owens returning to the 19 man squad as Patrick Ah Van and Lloyd White have been dropped. Liam Carberry is another addition to the 19 as he looks to make his Super League debut while Phil Joseph is sidelined due to a ban he picked up against Wakefield for a dangerous tackle.

Warrington are almost unchanged from the side that beat London as Joel Monaghan is rested with Roy Asotasi, Stefan Ratchford and Ryan Atkins all vying for a place in the 17.

Prediction

Viewers at home will be hoping for more of a contest this time out and with the increasing pressure from the sides below Widnes should perform better. Having said that Warrington are in the middle of a purple patch and will be hard to beat. Widnes to go close but Warrington by 12.

My name is Sean Hayes. I am from Widnes, England. I am currently studying journalism at Salford University. Aspiring sports journalist and rugby league fanatic whether it is watching, playing or writing about the greatest game! Follow me on twitter @SHayesNBL

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