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MATCH PREVIEW | Wigan Warriors vs Salford Red Devils

Wigan welcome Salford to the DW Stadium in Super League’s Qualifying Final, with the winners moving on to battle St. Helens for a place in the Grand Final at Old Trafford.

The losing side will not be eliminated and will get another chance to continue their path through the play-offs.

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TEAM FORM GUIDE

Wigan Warriors

Wigan beat Castleford 26-8 at the DW Stadium in the final round of fixtures of the regular season.

Tries from Williams, Hardaker – who also kicked three goals – Greenwood, Gildart and Smithies were enough to tame the Tigers and send them into the play offs in top form.

Salford Red Devils

Krisnan Inu kicked a golden-point drop-goal as Salford beat Hull KR 17-16 to claim victory over the Yorkshire side via the new format for the second time this season.

Inu kicked four more points as Bibby, Lolohea and Lussick all crossed as the Red Devils secured third spot.

Salford, the only one of the five play-off contenders yet to appear in a Grand Final, won their final eight matches of the regular season to finish in the top three.

 

SQUAD NEWS

Wigan Warriors

Wigan, who finished second in the regular season, bring in Liam Marshall.

The home side also turn to Liam Farrell as they bid to set up a tie against table-toppers St. Helens for a place in the Final, which of course they won last season, beating Warrington 12-4.

Wigan Warriors 19-man squad: Burgess, Byrne, Clubb, Farrell, Flower, French, Gildart, Greenwood, Hankinson, Hardaker, Isa, Leuluai, Marshall, Navarrete, O’Loughlin, Powell, Sarginson, Smithies, Williams.

Salford Red Devils

Salford have made three alterations as Gil Dudson, Mark Flanagan and Tyrone McCarthy all come into the squad.

Wigan-bound half-back Jackson Hastings is also named in the Red Devils side.

Salford Red Devils 19-man squad: Evalds, Welham, Bibby, Mossop, Wood, Dudson, Jones, Griffin, Flanagan, Lussick, Walker, Burke, McCarthy, Tomkins, Sio, Inu, Lannon, Lolohea, Hastings

 

HEAD TO HEAD

Wigan triumphed 28-12 in the last meeting meeting between the two sides in June as scores from Joe Greenwood, Zak Hardaker and Oliver Partington supported Liam Marshall’s brace to give Friday’s hosts a comfortable victory, despite Derrell Olpherts and Kris Welham crossing for Salford.

Greenwood was also on the scoreboard, twice in fact, in the first clash of the season. Hardaker, too, touched the ball down as the Warriors battled to a 26-30 victory in a stunning contest which ebbed and flowed.

George Griffin, Niall Evalds, Adam Walker and Joey Lussick all scored tries for the Red Devils, but Joe Burgess and Joe Bullock had given Wigan a strong start which, ultimately, set them up for the win.

KEY BATTLE

Oliver Gildart (Wigan Warriors) v Krisnan Inu (Salford Red Devils)

The England international has enjoyed arguably his most influential season in a Wigan shirt, despite not quite matching his try total of 2018. With 11 tries to his name, Gildart sits behind four of his teammates in that regard, but his overall contributions from the heart of the field put him a cut above the rest.

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Krisnan Inu’s form from the boot is impressive to say the least. The New Zealand-born player, who also plays as a centre or on the wing, dragged his team to victory against Hull KR to cement a third-place finish in the regular season and will need to put in another impressive display if his side are going to exact revenge for the two defeats suffered to the Warriors earlier in the campaign.

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THE IMPORTANT DETAILS

Date: Friday 20th September 2019
Venue: DW Stadium
Kick-off: 19:45 GMT
Referee: Robert Hicks

 

WHO WILL WIN?

Wigan have won both previous meetings between the two teams in 2019, with the home victory being rather straight forward, so I expect them to get the job done again – albeit not as easily. Gildart and Hardaker will be at the heart of everything they do, but Salford will most certainly give them one hell of a game. Warriors to win: 28-18.

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