Castleford travel to second-place Wigan in the final round of the regular season knowing that only a win will guarantee them a play off spot.
TEAM FORM GUIDE
Bevan French scored a hattrick in the Warriors’ last home game as they thumped Catalans Dragons 46-12 with an eight-try performance.
Liam Marshall then repeated the feat as the Lancashire side triumphed over Wakefield Trinity, winning 16-24 on the road.
Jacob Trueman was in equally fine form against Hull FC last week, running in three splendid tries of his own in his team’s 44-12 slaughter of the Yorkshire club.
Cheyse Blair, James Clare, Jordan Rankin and Matt Cook all crossed as the Tigers ran riot in their only game this month.
Warriors’ Head Coach Adrian Lam has named Sean O’Loughlin in his 19-man squad.
Ben Flower has also been included.
A win against Castleford would see Wigan secure second place and therefore a home game against the third-placed team in round one of the play-offs.
Wigan Warriors 19-man squad: Burgess, Byrne, Clubb, Flower, French, Gildart, Greenwood, Hankinson, Hardaker, Isa, Leuluai, Navarrete, O’Loughlin, Partington, Powell, Sarginson, Smith, Smithies, Williams.
Castleford have made one change to the side that thumped Hull FC last week, with Chris Clarkson coming in.
Will Maher is the unfortunate party to make way.
Victory for the Tigers guarantees them a place in the play-offs.
Castleford Tigers 19-man squad: Blair, Clare, Clarkson, Cook, Ellis, Holmes, Massey, Mata’utia, McMeeken, McShane, Millington, Milner, Minikin, Rankin, Sene-Lefao, Smith, Trueman, Turner, Watts.
HEAD TO HEAD
Sam Powell scored the only try of a tremendously tight affair at the DW as the hosts won 6-4 back in June.
Peter Mata’utia kicked two penalties for the Tigers, who fought desperately to get themselves a foothold in the contest, but the two teams were simply too evenly matched for anyone to break clear and so the game finished with just a single score.
Earlier that same month, however, the score was much greater.
Castleford ran out 38-28 winners as Mata’utia scored one and kicked five goals in a match that saw thirteen tries. Wigan actually led, 8-24 at half time, but an incredible second forty from the Tigers secured a brilliant victory.
Liam Marshall (Wigan Warriors) v Jacob Trueman (Castleford Tigers)
Both sides have quality in abundance, but form is vital at this stage of the season and so it is hard to see past these two playing crucial roles in tonight’s showdown.
Peter Mata-utia has scored eighteen points in the two matches between the sides this year, so he will also feature heavily, but tries matter most on occasions such as this.
With both men scoring hattricks in their previous match, they will enter the battlefield with supreme confidence in their ability to drag their side over the line, quite literally, as both clubs are desperate for the two points.
THE IMPORTANT DETAILS
Date: Thursday 12th September
Venue: DW Stadium
Kick-off: 19:45 GMT
Referee: James Child
WHO WILL WIN?
Both sides won their home games against each other this term, so it would be easy to go for a Wigan win, but the game means so much more for the away side. Wigan need a win to make certain of a home tie in the play offs, but Castleford need a win to actually make the same stage. I expect the travelling Tigers so come out roaring and not let up: Castleford to win 18-24.