Wigan Warriors host the Huddersfield Giants this Friday night in week two of the Super 8s. Wigan come into this with their play-off hopes all but shattered, while the Giants are looking to go two points clear of the Warriors with a first win at the DW Stadium since 2014.
LAST TIME OUT
Wigan Warriors come into this game on the back of a disappointing 32-16 defeat away to the Leeds Rhinos. It was a horror show for the Warriors as their play-off chances seemed to be shattered on a pitiful night in Yorkshire. It was a slow start to the game from both sides, but it was Leeds who struck first as they ran into a 10-0 lead after tries from Stevie Ward and Ashton Golding. Wigan were way off the pace, but somehow found themselves level at halftime after a double from Tom Davies. The second half was all about Leeds and Stevie Ward, who put in a superb performance. The Rhinos would run in four second half tries to completely wipe the floor with the hopeless Warriors. Ward would complete his hat-trick and other tries from Matt Parcell and a second from Golding was more than enough to get the two points. Wigan would get a very late consolation try through Sam Tomkins, but it was too late for any sort of comeback and Leeds would finish up 32-16 winners, and gain a vital two points on Castleford at the top of the league.
Huddersfield Giants come into this game on the back of a superb 36-6 win over their fellow rivals Wakefield Trinity. It was a great night for the Giants who completely ran away with the game and kicked off their Super 8s campaign with a brilliant performance. They won the first half 18-6 with tries from Danny Brough, Darnell McIntosh and Ryan Hinchcliffe set them on their way. A late Sam Williams try gave Trinity some hope for the second half. However, it was far from enough as Huddersfield went on to win the second half 18-0, as tries from Leroy Cudjoe, Jermain McGillvary and Daniel Smith brought up a great scoreline for the Giants. It was a real off night for Trinity who lost ground on the top four, as other sides around them went two points clear. As for the Giants, they know that they have a slim chance of making the top four come the end of the Super 8s, but they’re going to give it a good go, and this first performance and result will put the other sides on notice, that they won’t be a walkover.
Every single Wigan player will be looking to improve from last week’s disappointing performance. Meanwhile the Giants lads will be on a high after their win last week.
Sam Tomkins vs Jordan Rankin
After finally finding some form, Sam Tomkins fell back down to earth last week with an absolute shocker. He needs to improve this week, as he’s one of the star players that others turn too in tight moments. As for Jordan Rankin, he’s stepped into the full-back role after the impressive Jake Mamo got injured a few weeks back. He may not have scored a try this season, but he has chipped in with five assists.
Williams/Leuluai vs Gaskell/Brough
Wigan’s halves in recent weeks have been rather lacklustre to say the least. It’s were all the quality and assist should be coming from, but it’s just been off. While George Williams is still going strong, its Thomas Leuluai who’s struggling to find any sort of form. As for the Giants, Lee Gaskell and Danny Brough have a combined amount of 13 tries and 23 assists this season, so there’s more than a threat in their halves.
This is where the game will be won and lost on Friday, as it’s were all the tries will come from in my opinion. Tom Davies looks set to keep his place after being the only bright spark in last week’s horror show for Wigan. Meanwhile, Jermain McGillvary is the Giants’ top scorer with 17 tries, and is always a threat out wide. Especially when he plays next to Leroy Cudjoe who has six tries himself, with eight assists.
If Wigan think they can still make the top four, and reach the play-offs, then they simply must win this game. As for Huddersfield, they’ll want to end their season strong, and try to continue their great form from last week.
Wigan Warriors by 8
Wigan Warriors head coach Shaun Wane:
“We weren’t up to our standards against Leeds. Individual defensive errors let us down and cost us badly. We’ve been working on it in training.
“We don’t want another performance like that again this season. Sam Powell is an important member of our team and it’ll be great to have him back.
“Huddersfield are very strong, and Jordan Turner is a great player. It’s going to be a big test. Two draws this year, so there’s not much between us.”
Huddersfield Giants head coach Rick Stone:
“We definitely do. The positions on the table look pretty important at the moment and we both need competition points. After their loss last week, they will be stinging a little bit.
“They understand that they can’t drop too many points, similar to us, in the Super 8 series if they are to make the top four so there is plenty at stake.
“Momentum has been with us for a while. I think we’ve only lost three of our last 11 games and over the last couple of months we’ve been competitive and gained confidence.”
Shaun Wane makes just the one change to the side that lost away to Leeds Rhinos last week, with Sam Powell coming back in for Josh Ganson.
Rick Stone makes just the one change from last week’s win at home to Wakefield, with Michael Lawrence coming back in for Sam Rapira.
Wigan Warriors: John Bateman, Joe Burgess, Tony Clubb, Tom Davies, Liam Farrell, Anthony Gelling, Oliver Gildart, Willie Isa, Thomas Leuluai, Liam Marshall, Michael Mcilorum, Frank-Paul Nuuausala, Sean O’Loughlin, Sam Powell, Ryan Sutton, Taulima Tautai, Sam Tomkins, Jack Wells and George Williams.
Huddersfield Giants: Jermaine McGillvary, Leroy Cudjoe, Lee Gaskell, Danny Brough, Ryan Hinchcliffe, Shannon Wakeman, Michael Lawrence, Kruise Leeming, Sebastine Ikahihifo, Ukuma Ta’ai, Paul Clough, Nathan Mason, Daniel Smith, Tyler Dickinson, Darnell McIntosh, Alex Mellor, Adam O’Brien, Jordan Turner and Jordan Rankin.
Referee: Phil Bentham
Venue: DW Stadium, Wigan
Date/Time: Friday 11th August 2017 – 20:00pm BST