After Wembley disappointment, Warrington return to Super 8s action against Hull FC. Here’s everything you need to know…
Steve Price welcomes back two players into his squad – Bodene Thompson, who was unable to play in the Wembley defeat due to being ‘cup-tied’ with Leigh, and Ben Pomeroy.
They have taken the place of the Tongan powerhouse Ben Murdoch-Masila, who suffered a knee injury last weekend, and Morgan Smith. Sitaleki Akauola was suspended for the Challenge Cup Final and could have played in this fixture, but hasn’t been recalled by Price.
Ryan Atkins is included in the 19-man squad for the second week running and could potentially return for the first time in three months, giving Warrington a massive boost ahead of the run-in.
Warrington 19-man squad: Ratchford, Lineham, Goodwin, Atkins, K. Brown, Roberts, Hill, Clark, Cooper, Hughes, Patton, Philbin, T. King, G. King, Livett, Charnley, Pomeroy, Thompson, Westwood.
Lee Radford has made three changes to the squad that faced Huddersfield two weeks ago, in what was a sixth consecutive loss for the Black and Whites.
The Hull coach has three more injuries to deal with, including Chris Green who will be out for the season with a ruptured Achilles that requires surgery.
Marc Sneyd may not feature again either after suffering a knee injury, while Mark Minichiello is also on the sidelines. Jez Litten, Hakim Miloudi and Masi Matongo replace the injured trio, while Lewis Bienek remains in Radford’s squad after proving his worth in Super League recently.
Hull FC 19-man squad: Shaul, Faraimo, Tuimavave, Griffin, Talanoa, Taylor, Houghton, Hadley, Abdull, Washbrook, Fash, Manu, Litten, Paea, Lane, Miloudi, Matongo, Harris, Bienek.
This game will be the third fixture between the sides this year and it currently stands at one apiece. When the sides played at the KCOM during the Beast from the East, it was Hull who took the spoils 21-12 after two red cards to Declan Patton and then Hull player Liam Watts. However, in the return fixture Warrington overcame a 12-0 deficit to win 30-12.
It has been over two years since Hull last won at Warrington so Hull will be looking for retribution. This fixture has been an even contest in recent times though – in the last ten meetings between the two sides at the Halliwell Jones, Warrington have come out on top five times.
KEY BATTLE – Danny Houghton vs Daryl Clark
It’s a battle of the 9s in Thursday’s game, and the outcome of the game could be decided in the middle with both hookers having a key role to play in creating chances for their sides.
Danny Houghton has been a key man for Hull FC this year with 868 tackles in Super League alone, more than 200 more than anyone else in his side. Houghton has also made 120 runs from dummy half and his dummies can tear defences apart. Alongside these incredible stats, Houghton has also bagged himself two tries and six try assists making him quite dangerous near the line.
His opposite number is Daryl Clark, a man who has been prolific in making breaks close to the line. He has scooted across the line 5 times this season and also got 6 assists in the Warrington side. Alike with Houghton, Clark is a tackling machine with 919 tackles being made by him this season; the second highest in the league. Daryl is also a danger in the attack with 13 clean breaks and over 2400 metres made.
THE IMPORTANT DETAILS
Date: Thursday 30th August
Venue: Halliwell Jones Stadium
Referee: Liam Moore