Warrington Wolves will be looking win their fourth game of the season as they welcome Wakefield Trinity to the Halliwell Jones Stadium on Saturday.
TEAM FORM GUIDE
Steve Price is seven games into his tenure at the Wire and after a poor start to the season, the Primrose and Blue have started to show signs of old by producing their best performance of the season last weekend. Being the only team to played all of their scheduled games so far, Wire fans will be hoping that they can improve to a 4-4 record come Friday night.
Wakey have had a better start to the season than the Wolves, currently sitting third on eight points with two games in hand. With Chris Chester’s men only losing last time out against the Warriors, they will be looking to get back to winning ways, especially after last weekend’s game having to be abandoned after 26 minutes.
Josh Charnley is in line to make his debut for the Wire, being one of the two changes made to Steve Price’s 19 Man Squad. Joining Charnley in the squad is Ryan Atkins, returning to the squad following an abductors muscle injury he suffered in the defeat to St Helens. The duo are replacing Morgan Smith and Dom Crosby, who is struggling with a knee problem that forced him to miss last week’s win against the Catalan Dragons.
Warrington Wolves Squad
Sitaleki Akauola, Ryan Atkins, Kevin Brown, Mitch Brown, Josh Charnley, Daryl Clark, Mike Cooper, Bryson Goodwin, Chris Hill, Jack Hughes, George King, Toby King, Tom Lineham, Harvey Livett, Ben Murdoch-Masila, Joe Philbin, Stefan Ratchford, Tyrone Roberts, Ben Westwood
Chris Chester has also made two changes to his squad following the 26 minute abandoned game last weekend against Widnes. James Batchelor and Keegan Hirst come into the squad replacing Tinirau Arona and Kyle Wood.
Wakefield Trinity Squad
Matty Ashurst, James Batchelor, Mason Caton-Brown, Anthony England, David Fifita, Liam Finn, Scott Grix, Ryan Hampshire, Keegan Hirst, Justin Horo, Craig Huby, Tom Johnstone, Ben Jones-Bishop, Danny Kirmond, Reece Lyne, Jacob Miller, Pauli Pauli, Tyler Randell, Bill Tupou
Coming into this game the Wire sit in fifth place, two points behind their opponents. But following on from becoming the first club to keep the Dragons to nil at home, the Wolves will be looking to back the performance up. However, Trinity have continued with the form that has seen them go from the Million Pound Game winners in 2015, to a key member of the top 8. Chris Chester’s men will be looking to get back to their winning ways after losing against Wigan two weeks ago. This game is a vital game for both sides.
Josh Charnley’s return
The major talking point for this week has to be the Wire’s signing Josh Charnley. The winger has returned to rugby league, following a 17 month spell with Sale Sharks. The former Wigan speedster scored 149 tries in 151 games for the club, including the match winning try in the 2016 Grand Final against his new club. The winger said in an interview after his signing, “I’ll be looking to bring some enthusiasm to the boys and bring a bit of pace to the team. I’ll try and be a bit physical and try and give the lads a lift.” Fans will have to wait and see on Friday, whether his return will live up to expectation.
Sitaleki Akauola vs Pauli Pauli
“Battle of the bench props.”
Two of the biggest and most powerful props in the league. For the home team, there is Sitaleki Akauola, the Tongan international who moved to the Wire from Penrith last season. After playing three games this season for his new club, Akauola has made 36 tackles and 17 carries, averaging at 7.82 metres per carry. He has played in two of the Wolves three victories this season and has been a key player off the bench. Will he continue to make his impact off the bench.
For the away team, Pauli Pauli is also in his first Super League season after moving from Newcastle Knights. The prop has played all of Wakefield games this season, making 46 tackles with 32 carries, averaging at 6.84 metres per carry. The Australian will be looking to continue his impressive start in the League and set the platform for his backs to attack.
Brown vs Finn
The battle of the experienced halfbacks. For the Wire, the former Wigan, Huddersfield, Widnes and England stand-off Kevin Brown. The vice-captain leads the team and allows his halfback partner, Tyrone Roberts to plays his off the cuff style. With his conservative approach to the game, that is critical to his teams success , Brown should allow the Wolves to apply pressure in the key moments of the game.
For Trinity, the former Castleford, Featherstone, Dewsbury, Halifax and Irish Halfback Liam Finn. The halfback looks to use the space set up by his forwards to create opportunities.
This battle could be vital in either side gaining the two valuable points.
THE IMPORTANT DETAILS
Date: Friday 23rd March
Venue: The Halliwell Jones Stadium
Referee: J Childs
WHO WILL WIN?
I feel that this one will end in a win for the Wolves in a close encounter. The addition of Josh Charnley will give Warrington the boost they needed to keep improving, and push on for the rest of the season.