Second place plays third place on Friday night as Wigan host Warrington at the DW Stadium in a massive Super League clash. Here’s everything you need to know:
Shaun Wane has been forced to make two changes to the squad that beat Leeds Rhinos 46-8 last Thursday.
Romain Navarette has been handed a one-match ban for grade B dangerous contact, while Joe Greenwood, who made his first appearance for the Warriors in the round 19 win following his move from Gold Coast Titans, rolled his ankle in that game so will not be risked.
They are replaced by academy players Callum Field and Samuel Kibula, the 18-year-old forward who could be in line to make his first team debut if selected.
Wigan Warriors 19-man squad: Tomkins, Davies, Gildart, Powell, Clubb, Leuluai, Flower, Farrell, O’Loughlin, Bateman, Tautai, Isa, Escare, Marshall, Field, Hamlin, Woods, Kibula, Paisley.
England internationals Stefan Ratchford and Chris Hill return after being left out of the win against Salford on the back of their trip to America for the test match with New Zealand.
They take the places of Ben Murdoch-Masila, who pulled up in the warm-up last week with a calf problem, and Ben Pomeroy after he suffered what the club described as an ‘upper leg strain’.
Ryan Atkins (bicep) and Harvey Livett (knee) miss out again.
Warrington Wolves 19-man squad: Ratchford, Lineham, Goodwin, K. Brown, Roberts, Hill, Clark, Cooper, Hughes, Crosby, Patton, Akauola, Philbin, T. King, G. King, M. Brown, Smith, Charnley, Westwood.
HEAD TO HEAD
This is the third meeting in quick succession between Wigan and Warrington, with the last one coming just over a month ago in the quarter-final of the Challenge Cup. The Wolves triumphed 23-0 that day, putting in a fantastic performance which Wigan had no answers to.
Just two weeks previous to that, Wigan ran riot at Newcastle United’s St. James’ Park as they brought Warrington’s 10-game winning streak to an end with a 38-10 win at Magic Weekend.
KEY BATTLE- Tony Clubb v Chris Hill
The battle of the forwards has had a big say on the end result of recent matches between these two sides, with the pack that have won it laying the platform for their side to go on and win the game too.
Tony Clubb has arguably been Wigan’s top performing prop in 2018, making 380 tackles and 1334 metres from 165 carries- giving him an average gain of over 8 metres per carry. He’s also gone over for 5 tries, which is a good return for a prop after 19 games.
Likewise, the ever dependable Chris Hill has had another solid season for the Wolves, making the second most amount of tackles (593), the third most carries (261), the third most metres (2039) and makes an average of 7.8 metres per carry. Warrington’s number 8 was rested for last week’s game with Salford after playing for England in Denver, so will be well rested and raring to go for this fixture.
If history is anything to go by then whichever of these two players, aided by their fellow forwards, have the better game on Friday night could be an indicator of who will be claiming the two competition points.
THE IMPORTANT DETAILS
Date: Friday 6th July 2018
Venue: DW Stadium
Referee: Chris Kendall
WHO WILL WIN?