Date: Friday 15th August
Venue: Halliwell Jones Stadium
Warrington 19 man squad: Asotasi, Atkins, Bridge, England, Evans, Grix, Harrison, Higham, Hill, Laithwaite, J. Monaghan, M. Monaghan, Myler, O’Brien, Ratchford, Russell, Waterhouse, Westwood, Wood
Castleford 19 man squad: Tansey, Lynch, Milner, Hauraki, Massey, Holmes, Mariano, Wheeldon, Ellis, Gibson, Channing, Clare, Finn, Reynolds, Day, Jewitt, Carvell, Maher, Howden
Warrington Wolves host Castleford Tigers this Friday as the race for a top 4 finish in the Super League intensifies.
Both sides go into the game off the back of contrasting results in last weekend’s Challenge Cup semi-finals. Castleford beat Widnes 28-6 to secure the club’s first trip to Wembley since 1992, whereas Warrington missed out after a 24-16 defeat to Leeds in a match they never really got a hold of.
Reaching the Challenge Cup final is another accomplishment in the fairytale season that Castleford are having. At the start of the year few would have predicted the success and high quality rugby league Daryl Powell’s side have produced this campaign. The Tigers currently lie in 4th place and a win over the Wolves on Friday could see them go top should other results go their way.
Warrington are breathing down Castleford’s necks however, and a win for the Wolves by 29 points or more will see them leapfrog the Tigers into 4th place. Despite currently sitting in 5th, the Wolves are only 4 points behind leaders St Helens with 4 regular round games left in what is proving to be the closest race for the League Leaders Shield to date.
Warrington are likely to stick with the same side that lost to Leeds last Saturday, with the only change in the 19 man squad seeing James Laithwaite recalled ahead of Gene Ormsby.
In contrast, Daryl Powell has rung the changes for Castleford with one eye on the Challenge Cup final next weekend. Only 10 players from the team that beat Widnes are named in Castleford’s 19 man squad, with the likes of Michael Shenton, Marc Sneyd, Daryl Clark, Kirk Dixon and Luke Dorn all rested. Michael Channing, Adam Milner, Ashley Gibson and Jordan Tansey are recalled to the side, although prop Craig Huby misses out after dislocating his elbow in the victory over Widnes.
Winger Justin Carney sits out the final game of his suspension whilst Weller Hauraki returns from his 2 game ban. Youngsters Brad Day and Will Maher could be given their first team debuts.
The sides last met on Easter Monday with Castleford easing to a 40-6 victory thanks to a hat-trick from Michael Shenton. A win for the Tigers would stretch their unbeaten run to 8 matches as they look to cement their highest ever Super League finish.
If Castleford had selected their strongest side they’d be favourites but after ringing the changes Warrington look most likely to secure the 2 points.