Date: Friday 4th September.
Venue: DW Stadium, Wigan.
Kick off: 8:00pm.
Wigan Warriors: John Bateman, Matt Bowen, Josh Charnley, Tony Clubb, Dom Crosby, Gil Dudson, Liam Farrell, Ben Flower, Anthony Gelling, Blake Green, Jack Hughes, Dom Manfredi, Michael McIlorum, Sean O’Loughlin, Eddy Pettybourne, Sam Powell, Dan Sarginson, Matty Smith, Joel Tomkins. (two to be omitted)
Leeds Rhinos: Zak Hardaker, Kallum Watkins, Ryan Hall, Danny McGuire, Rob Burrow, Kylie Leuluai, Paul Aiton, Jamie Peacock, Jamie Jones-Buchanan, Carl Ablett, Kevin Sinfield, Stevie Ward, Brett Delaney, Ryan Bailey, Ian Kirke, Mitch Achurch, Tom Briscoe, Liam Sutcliffe, Jimmy Keinhorst. (two to be omitted)
Wigan and Leeds will both be keen to return to winning ways when the current Super League champions host this year’s Challenge Cup winners on Friday night.
Though both sides are out of the running for the League Leaders’ shield following poor form of late, league points remain important as the battle to finish in the top four hots up.
The Warriors have not tasted victory in the league since the July, with Shaun Wane’s men picking up one point from a possible four during August. Meanwhile, despite their Challenge Cup success, Brian McDermott’s Rhinos have lost their last three league games, a run of form which has seen them slip from the brink of top spot, to sixth place.
Leeds overcame Wigan at Headingley earlier in the year but the Warriors gained revenge by coming out on top by a score of 18-14 in a classic at the Magic Weekend.
The hosts will be boosted by the news that Liam Farrell was found not guilty of a high tackle in the loss to the Vikings, meaning he is available to face the Rhinos. However Iain Thornley will be missing for Wigan after he suffered a season-ending knee injury in training, while Leeds are without the suspended Joel Moon after the centre was sent off in the 13-12 defeat to St Helens last week.
As a result, head coach Brian McDermott has recalled the Germany international centre, Jimmy Keinhorst, from his loan spell with Wakefield and comes into the 19 man squad.
Prediction: This will undoubtedly be a close game with both sides desperate to find some form heading into the play offs, but I believe Leeds will get the better of Wigan in this one, despite the absence of Joel Moon. Wigan Warriors 8 – 16 Leeds Rhinos.