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MAGIC WEEKEND MATCH PREVIEW | Wigan Warriors vs Warrington Wolves

A second meeting in just two weeks between these two sides and their third fixture this season so far means it’s sure to be a physical, fiery display. Here’s everything you need to know.

 

TEAM FORM GUIDE

Wigan

After three Super League wins on the bounce, the Warriors slumped to a 26-24 defeat against Warrington in the Cup and followed it up with a disappointing 33-16 loss at Catalans in the historic match-up at the Nou Camp. Wigan still seemed to have failed to hit their stride yet and currently sit in eighth place, two points behind Salford above them.

Warrington

Second-placed Warrington have a four point cushion between themselves and third-placed Catalans but already have a six point gap to catch up to St Helens above. They have been in similar form to Wigan lately, winning three Super League games on the bounce before a shock 19-12 defeat to Hull last weekend.

They did get the better of Wigan in the Cup just a fortnight ago so this should fill them full of confidence.

 

SQUAD NEWS

Wigan

Last week’s trip to Barcelona was not a good one, not only because of the loss but because they now have more injuries to key players.

Sam Powell picked up a knock and Liam Marshall suffered a shoulder injury, which he picked up in the act of scoring. Romain Navarrete is also absent.

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Returning to the side is halfback Jarrod Sammut, who has been out with a knee injury since the start of April. Jake Shorrocks returns after missing the trip to the Nou Camp with a shoulder problem. Oliver Partington is also included in the 19-man squad.

Wigan’s 19-man squad: Bullock, Burgess, Clubb, Escare, Flower, Gildart, Greenwood, Hankinson, Hardaker, Isa, Leuluai, O’Loughlin, Partington, Sammut, Sarginson, Shorrocks, Smithies, Tautai, Williams.

Warrington

Wolves coach Steve Price has similar injury worries. In-form fullback Stefan Ratchford will be out between three and four months after picking up a shoulder injury. Ryan Atkins, Lama Tasi and Ben Westwood also miss out.

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To take their place, there are returns for Jake Mamo and Tom Lineham, who have both recovered for injuries. Mamo’s return should mean a straight swap at fullback with Ratchford. Harvey Livett and Matt Davis are also called up.

Warrington’s 19-man squad: Akauola, Austin, Charnley, D. Clark, J. Clark, Cooper, Currie, Davis, Goodwin, Hill, Hughes, King, Lineham, Livett, Mamo, Murdoch-Masila, Patton, Philbin, Walker.

 

HEAD TO HEAD

In the past ten meetings between the two sides, it is five wins apiece, with Warrington having the better of Wigan a fortnight ago in the Cup.

The teams have faced each other at the past two Magic Weekends. In 2017, Wigan snatched a 17-17 draw from Warrington’s grasp whilst in 2018, the Warriors pulled off a 38-10 victory.

Wigan have also beaten Warrington in three Grand Finals: 2013, 2016 and 2018.

 

KEY BATTLE

George Williams (Wigan) v Blake Austin (Warrington)

With these two potentially vying for one Great Britain spot come the end of the season, who will come out on top this season?

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So far this year, it has been the Blake Austin show. The halfback currently tops the try-scoring charts as well as the road to the Man of Steel award, sitting two points ahead of Wakefield prop David Fifita. He has been the star of the show for 2019 and it looks set to continue. He is at the heart of the Warrington attack but has moved outside to defend in recent weeks, due to doing too much tackling in the middle of the field previously. He might be stellar in attack but he’s not afraid to get his hands dirty and get stuck into defending.

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George Williams, with his move to Canberra all but a done deal, doesn’t seem to be the player he once was. He needs a stronger halfback partner than Tommy Leuluai nowadays so with the return of Jarrod Sammut, could this make a difference? His strongest attribute is his kicking game so expect lots of high bombs towards the Wolves back three.

 

THE IMPORTANT DETAILS

Date: Saturday 25th May
Venue: Anfield
Kick-off: 7pm
Referee: Chris Kendall

 

WHO WILL WIN?

Despite both being in similar form, I can’t see anything past a Warrington win. They have been head and shoulders above all competition, bar Saints, this season. Their attack has been far too strong for most sides and they’ll be wanting to prove a point after last week’s loss to Hull. 



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