Bouncing back from Wembley despair
Questions were asked if Warrington would be able to bounce back and salvage their season following their Wembley defeat to Hull FC in August.
The Wolves have silenced their critics by lifting the League Leaders’ Shield and beating St Helens in the play-off semi-final.
At Wembley, Warrington have already fallen at the final hurdle once this season and will be out to avoid doing that again on Saturday.
While Warrington did go on to claim the League Leaders’ Shield away at Hull a week later, they missed the opportunity to lift the trophy the previous week by throwing away a 14 point lead against Wigan in the penultimate Super 8s game with an extra man.
The Wire also had a 16-2 half-time lead overturned against the Warriors the last time the sides met at Old Trafford in 2013, with Shaun Wane’s side coming out on top 30-16.
Should Warrington put themselves in a demanding lead on Saturday will they find a way to see the game out this time round?
Only skipper Chris Hill, Stefan Ratchford and Ryan Atkins played in the 2013 Grand Final against Wigan and Warrington are therefore at a slight disadvantage in terms of experience.
Head coach Tony Smith has lead out a side at Old Trafford on five previous occasions however and has won the showdown twice with Leeds.
Having tasted Grand Final victory and defeat, the Warrington coach will know the best methods and routines to get his players prepared for the biggest game of the season.
No half-back issues
Chris Sandow has been named in the Wolves’ 19-man squad for the game and Warrington fans will be hoping their key playmaker is fit enough to make his return in time for Saturday’s showpiece event.
However, should he miss out Declan Patton has shown in recent weeks his qualities with the boot and there would be no issues for Warrington in the middle of the field.
Wigan’s half-back pairing of Matty Smith and George Williams is one of the strongest in the competition but a combination of Patton and Kurt Gidley was effective against St Helens and is arguably not inferior.
Finally their year?
Just like the last one, but is it finally Warrington’s year?
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