Wigan Warriors host Wakefield Trinity at the DW Stadium on Sunday looking to move level on points with the visitors in the Super League table.
TEAM FORM GUIDE
Shaun Wane’s side come into this fixture having ended a two-match losing streak with a 32-16 victory over Widnes Vikings. The Warriors lost 16-10 to Warrington upon their return from Australia, but the club had six different tryscorers to thank, including Sam Tomkins and Joe Burgess, as Wigan got back on track last time out.
Wakefield have not put a foot wrong this term after a 100% start to the season, and are only behind St Helens at the summit on points difference. The latest victory for Chris Chester’s men saw them defeat Huddersfield Giants 22-4 – Mason Caton-Brown, who came in for the rested Tom Johnstone, scored on his first appearance of the season.
Joel Tomkins will be unavailable for the Warriors due to a swollen knee, so Wane is expected to give a first appearance of the season to close-season signing Gabe Hamlin from South Sydney Rabbitohs – Romain Navarrete could also feature on Sunday.
Wakefield have no fresh injury concerns, but Chester could give a first start of the campaign to hooker Tyler Randell, who has recovered from a knee injury. Johnstone and Reece Lyne are expected to be recalled to the starting lineup after being rested against Huddersfield.
Trinity earned a 42-30 victory the last time these two sides met at DW Stadium, as Chester’s men, who led 22-20 at half time, pushed on to win. However, aside from that game, Wigan have won all of the previous four between the sides.
Wingers will be key in Sunday’s meeting, as Liam Marshall and Tom Johnstone, two of the league’s brightest, go head-to-head. Elsewhere, Pauli Pauli and David Fifita will look to provide the muscle for Trinity, while Wigan will turn to the likes of Navarrete, Ben Flower and Hamin.
Wane told Wigan Today ahead of the match that Trinity’s unbeaten record this term has set the game up perfectly. He said: “This is a tough game, we’re going alright and they’re going outstandingly well.
“So they’re coming here to keep their unbeaten record, which is great for us – it’s thrown the gauntlet down and we need to accept it turn up and make this a game.”
Trinity boss Chester praised centre Reece Lyne after his England Knights call-up earlier this week. He told reporters: “He’s in a position there where if you make a mistake or miss a tackle you look silly. Centre is a tough position to play but he’s grown into that spot and made it look his own.”
Over the last six meetings between these sides, Wakefield (30) have scored six more than their opponents (24) and kept the Warriors scoreless twice (62-0, 10/4/2016 and 32-0, 23/9/2017)
Wigan 19-man squad: Bateman, Burgess, Clubb, Davies, Escare, Farrell, Flower, Hamlin, Gildart, Isa, Leuluai, Marshall, Navarrete, O’Loughlin, Powell, Sutton, Tautai, Tomkins, Williams
Wakefield 19-man squad: Arona, Ashurst, England, Fifita, Finn, Grix, Hampshire, Hirst, Horo, Huby, Johnstone, Jones-Bishop, Kirmond, Lyne, Miller, Pauli, Randell, Topou, Wood
THE IMPORTANT DETAILS
Date: Sunday, March 11
Venue: DW Stadium, Wigan
Kick-off: 15:00 GMT