The 2018 Betfred Grand Final sees the Wigan Warriors take on Warrington Wolves. Here’s everything you need to know…
Both Wigan and Warrington have named unchanged 19-man squads after both teams successfully defeated their play-offs opponents with no major injuries. Mike Cooper was injured (eye) in Warrington’s clash against St Helens but has recovered.
Wigan defeated last year’s League Leaders Castleford to secure their place in this year’s Grand Final last week in a convincing 14-0 victory. The Warriors are currently in red-hot form with nine wins on the bounce and have become the first ever team to win all seven of their Super 8’s games.
This match will spell the end for several members of the club who will be moving onto new adventures, so a win this Saturday would be the perfect send-off for these personnel, not least head coach Shaun Wane who will be leaving to take a role in Scotland Rugby Union after a 35-year association with the club.
John Bateman and Ryan Sutton will be experiencing life in Australia as they are set to play in the NRL for the Canberra Raiders and Sam Tomkins will move to Southern France as he will be playing for this year’s Challenge Cup winners, Catalan Dragons, from 2019.
Wigan 19-man squad: Tomkins, Davies, Sarginson, Gildart, Williams, Powell, Clubb, Leuluai, Flower, Farrell, O’Loughlin, Bateman, Sutton, Tautai, Escare, Manfredi, Navarrette, Hamlin, Greenwood.
Warrington were considered to be ‘underdogs’ when they had to visit the Totally Wicked Stadium and defeat the 2018 League Leaders St Helens in order to secure their place at this year’s Grand Final. It was a closely contested first half and the score was 3-2 in favour of the Saints but in the end, Warrington won 18-13 and Tom Lineham, who returned from suspension, went over the line twice for the Wire.
Like Wigan, Warrington will have a number of players leaving at the end of the season. Currently, seven players have been confirmed to depart the club at the end of this season, including half-back Tyrone Roberts (Gold Coast Titans) who will be going back home to Australia after struggling to settle in the UK.
Meanwhile, Mitch Brown, Ben Pomeroy, Taylor Prell and Bodene Thompson will all be moving on but their destinations are currently unknown. George King will be moving to Wakefield and Dominic Crosby is likely to stay on at Leeds after transferring earlier in the season on loan.
Warrington 19-man squad: Ratchford, Lineham, Goodwin, Atkins, Brown, Roberts, Hill, Clark, Cooper, Hughes, Murdoch-Masila, Patton, Philbin, T. King, G. King, Livett, Charnley, Thompson, Westwood.