Wigan Warriors host the Salford Red Devils, with both sides knowing they are 80 minutes from a Old Trafford appearance.
TEAM FORM GUIDE
Wigan had an opportunity to secure their Old Trafford place when they made the trip to St Helens, however it would be difficult as the league leaders shield winners had a 100% record at home. The Saints marched themselves into the final in dominant fashion with a 40-10 win, which puts Wigan into this fixture.
Salford Red Devils
After losing to Wigan in the first week, it meant Ian Watson’s side had to win their remaining two matches if they wanted to reach the Grand Final. Last week they faced Castleford with the losing knowing they were out of the competition. They came out of a tough match the week before, however a 22-0 win suggests they felt no effects of the defeat to Wigan. A 14-0 lead at the break was extended when Jackson Hastings crossed.
Adrian Lam makes only one change from last week. Dan Sarginson moves into the side for Joe Greenwood.
Wigan Warriors 19-man squad: Burgess, Byrne, Clubb, Farrell, Flower, French, Gildart, Hankinson, Hardaker, Isa, Leuluai, Marshall, Navarrete, O’Loughlin, Partington, Powell, Sarginson, Smithies, Williams
Salford Red Devils
Similar to their opposition, the Red Devils also make only one change. Josh Johnson comes in to replace Ryan Lannon.
Salford Red Devils 19-man squad: Evalds, Welham, Bibby, Mossop, Wood, Dudson, Jones, Griffin, Flanagan, Lussick, Walker, Burke, McCarthy, Tomkins, Sio, Inu, Lolohea, Hastings, Johnson
HEAD TO HEAD
These sides have met on numerous occasions this season, including week one of the play-offs. Just like this fixture, it was hosted at the DW Stadium. It was a closely fought contest with the Warriors coming out on top with an 18-12 victory. The match was evenly poised at the break with a 6 all scoreline, however tries from George Williams and Thomas Leuluai proved too much with Hastings crossing for Salford.
Both sides ended the season as the two most inform sides. It has been a remarkable season for either side just from where they came from, a poor early start by Wigan, however a strong finish secured second. Salford made a late surge towards the playoffs and unbelievably finished third.
George Williams (Wigan Warriors) v Jackson Hastings (Salford Red Devils)
A defeat would see the end of George Williams’ Wigan career as he is set to embark on his NRL journey. The key battle is against his replacement, Jackson Hastings, who will be calling the DW his home next year.
Williams has had a great season with 14 tries and 21 try assists. A key player to this Wigan side. He often shows his brilliance in the final 20 metres, with his kicking game constantly putting pressure on sides. He supports his forwards on breaks and that is part of the reason why he has 14 tries. The 24-year-old has gone from strength to strength and surely will succeed in a good Canberra side in the NRL.
Ever time Salford player, the key player seems to be Hastings and it is hard to look elsewhere when he has been so successful. He is surely the winner of the Man of Steel and with eight tries and 36 assists it is hard to argue with. It will be hard for Salford to cope with his loss, but good to see him remaining in Super League. His jinking runs strikes fear into defences and he is one of the key individuals who can make Salford history. A kicking game to go with it means he is one of the most valuable players in the league.
Whoever loses will be making their final appearance for their respective clubs.
THE IMPORTANT DETAILS
Date: Friday October 4th
Venue: DW Stadium
Kick-off: 7.45 PM
Referee: Ben Thaler
WHO WILL WIN?
Like the first meeting in the play-offs, once again I think it will be a close fixture. Just like that match Wigan will come out on top, however it has been a great season for Ian Watson’s and his Salford side and they do deserve to make the Grand Final. Whoever wins they know a difficult task is awaiting next week against St Helens