In the first meeting for these two in 2019, will it be the Wire or Wigan who take the two points? Here’s everything you need to know.
TEAM FORM GUIDE
With just one loss and four wins to their name, Warrington come into this one as firm favourites. With their opposition not winning in their last three matches, it will be a game mostly dominated by the team in Primrose & Blue.
A blip in the South of France was quickly forgiven after the Wire tore apart a soft Castleford side last Thursday night to end the Tigers’ unbeaten run. The spine of Warrington is beginning to find its feet again as the rounds of 2019 come thick & fast. Stefan Ratchford and Daryl Clark are in terrific form, Ratchford in fact second in the Man of Steel award standings. Wigan will have it all to do come game day Friday.
As the glue holding the club together, Shaun Wane left the club along with a few veteran players as the curtain drew on a fantastic 2018 season for the team. Wigan haven’t quite been able to pick up and it seems a hangover has come over them in 2019. With just one win this season, which includes losses to both London and Huddersfield, Wigan are in poor form.
As we know, local derbies are what it’s all about but form does go out the window and Wigan will turn up with the attitude to kick start their season. But it is yet to be seen if all will go to plan for Adrian Lam in his first trip as Wigan head coach to the Halliwell Jones Stadium.
As it was confirmed by Steve Price at the Bad Blood press conference in Warrington earlier in the week, the Wire head coach informed viewers that Bryson Goodwin is to miss a couple of weeks.
After their absences in the 24-10 victory over Castleford, Tom Lineham and Ryan Atkins return to the Wolves 19 man squad.
Warrington 19-man squad: Atkins, Austin, Charnley, Clark, Clark, Cooper, Currie, Hill, Hughes, King, Lineham, Mamo, Murdoch-Masila, Patton, Philbin, Ratchford, Tasi, Walker, Westwood.
With quite a few injuries, there are a few missing for Wigan. Dominic Manfredi is out with a tooth injury, whilst Liam Marshall will also be unavailable due to a knee injury. Marshall is set to miss up to six weeks. Taulima Tautai starts the first of his three match ban and Sam Powell is also out.
In to replace them come Jarrod Sammut, Dan Sarginson and Joe Greenwood, who will all be looking to impress Lam. There are also recalls for Tom Davies and Jake Shorrocks, who hasn’t played for the club in over two years.
Wigan Warriors 19-man squad: J.Bullock, T.Clubb, T.Davies, M.Escare, B.Flower, O.Gildart, J.Greenwood, G.Hamlin, C.Hankinson, Z.Hardaker, W.Isa, T.Leuluai, M.Navarrete, S.O’Loughlin, O.Partington, J.Sammut, D.Sarginson, J.Shorrocks, G.Williams.
HEAD TO HEAD
Warrington have a burning desire to not just get back to Old Trafford, but to beat Wigan in the process so can Friday night be the start of that? Before last year’s Grand Final, the majority of games contested by these two were won by Wigan, four out of six, with Warrington winning in the league in February and then in the Challenge Cup quarter final.
It’s always pretty even between these two but with the form the two have been in so far this season, Warrington are heavily tipped to move onto 10 points, although Wigan will want to grab those two points off them.
Mike Cooper (Warrington) v Tony Clubb (Wigan)
You can tell already how big this battle will be, with the two men being picked to appear at the press conference ahead of this match, along with their head coaches. Two tough props, who love big flat out runs, making the important tackles but they also seem to offload the ball a lot. Both are leaders of the men around them and two players who know what it takes to win a derby and they’ve both been on the winning and losing side.
THE IMPORTANT DETAILS
Date: Friday 15th March
Venue: Halliwell Jones Stadium
Referee: Ben Thaler
WHO WILL WIN?
With the first meeting of these two this season, excluding form with the way these two teams like to play in mind, I think Warrington will take away the two points. Warrington 26-14 Wigan