London Broncos welcome Wigan Warriors to Ealing as they attempt to break a three game losing streak, while the Warriors look to close the two-point gap between the two sides.
TEAM FORM GUIDE
London Broncos come into this one off the back of three significantly disappointing losses in which they exhibited a complete absence of the skill and grit needed to avoid relegation in Super League.
Wigan suffered a brutal one-point loss against Hull FC soon after having dampened a second-rate Sydney Rooster side the week before in the World Club Challenge.
Alex Walker is once again included in the 19-man squad despite speculation over the injury which made Danny Ward force him out of the match-day squad against Castleford. Ever present in the 19-man squad and Walker’s replacement, Fleming, is included despite having had a shocking performance last time out.
Rob Butler and off-season signing Morgan Smith are called into the 19-man squad in favour of Eloi Pelissier and Sadiq Adebiyi.
London Broncos 19-man squad: Abdull, Battye, Butler, Cunningham, Dixon, Fleming, Fozard, Gee, Ioane, Kear, Lovell, Mason, Morgan, Pitts, Richards, Smith, Walker, R Williams, Yates.
Former London Broncos and Harlequins RL player Tony Clubb returns to his hometown for the first time in four years, while Oliver Partington – a London Skolars loanee – is also included in the 19-man squad.
However, Wigan are without Joe Greenwood and Gabe Hamlin through injury, while brutish Ben Flower is rested for the clash.
Wigan Warriors 19-man squad: Bullock, Byrne, Clubb, Davies, Escare, Gildart, Hardaker, Isa, Leuluai, Marshall, Navarette, O’Loughlin, Paisley, Partington, Powell, Sammut, Sarginson, Tautai, G Williams.
HEAD TO HEAD
London Broncos have not won at home to Wigan in the last 10 years, while they have also lost 12 of the last 13 games between the two sides. London Broncos have also failed to score more than six points in each of their last four home games against Wigan.
Once again London will have to face up to a physically, and mentally, bigger pack than usual. Despite their first game – which is now all but a complete fluke of a performance – London have been comprehensively beaten in every game up front and seemingly cannot handle the physicality of Super League. Ironically, the sort of player they need – Tony Clubb – returns to his home town as a linchpin of the Wigan attack up front. He lines up alongside an ominous front-line of Navarette, Tautai, Byrne and Bullock and will no doubt tear apart a weak Broncos middle that has failed to live up to Super League standards so far.
The only consolation for London is Wigan’s inclusion of the mistake ridden and now over-rated Sean O’Loughlin, who also lines up in the middle alongside Tony Clubb. If London are to win this, they need to force characteristic mistakes from O’Loughlin with the ball in hand and contain the explosive power of Clubb and Tautai, as well as capitalise on the unfamiliarity of the 4G pitch to the Wigan pack.
THE IMPORTANT DETAILS
Date: Sunday 3rd March 2019
Venue: Trailfinders Sports Ground
Referee: Tom Grant
WHO WILL WIN?
Despite having won their first game against Wakefield Trinity – in which they clearly caught them napping – London have performed distinctly poorly and look to be a similar side to 2014 conception of the Broncos. Wigan unfortunately lost out to Hull FC in golden point away from home last time out but should capitalise here over a championship standard side. Wigan by 22.