MATCH PREVIEW v Leeds Rhinos

Opponents: Leeds Rhinos

Date: 21.07.17

Venue: DW Stadium

Tickets: https://www.eticketing.co.uk/wiganwarriors/default.aspx

A look at the Opposition

Leeds have seven out of their last nine games, losing only to Castleford and at a shock defeat at Widnes in that time. When you look at the Leeds side, it doesn’t overawe you in terms of quality like they had back in say 2015. But what Leeds have built this year compared to last years Middle 8’s finish is a strong, workman like side. The addition of Matt Parcel has added steel to their middle, a hooker who looks to have finally filled the void left by Paul Aiton and James Segeyaro; currently the top tackle maker in Super League. There is a resilience about this Leeds side which makes you feel that they could, yet again get to another Grand Final this year. The impending departure and retirement of Danny Maguire and Rob Burrows respectively adds that extra motivation for players and fans alike to achieve more success this year.

One area of their side which I think has been very impressive this year and has perhaps happened due to injuries is Joel Moon playing at halfback. When he has played in that role this season, he has looked very impressive. He adds a running game to the Leeds attack which seems to cause teams constant problems. The departure of Moon from the centres is suitably filled by Stevie Ward and the returning Keinhorst – an area which could be a key battle against Gelling and Gildart.

Leeds currently sit second in the table, four points clear of third place Salford with a semi final against Hull FC next week – will Leeds be tempted to rest players? Well, looking at their 19 man squad it looks like they are being forced to do, 13 players are reportedly missing from their squad (see below). What an opportunity for Wigan, no excuses allowed for this one.

Team News

The Leeds Rhinos 19 Man Squad:

19_man_Warriors-e1500464852815-1024x576.jpg

  1. Ashton Golding
  2. Tom Briscoe
  3. Joel Moon
  4. Matt Parcell
  5. Jamie Jones-Buchanan
  6. Carl Ablett
  7. Mitch Garbutt
  8. Jimmy Keinhorst
  9. Anthony Mullally
  10. Jack Ormondroyd
  11. Jordan Baldwinson
  12. Jordan Lilley
  13. Cameron Smith
  14. Mikolaj Oledzki
  15. Josh Jordan-Roberts
  16. Jack Walker
  17. Alex Sutcliffe
  18. Harry Newman
  19. Harvey Whiteley

From www.therhinos.co.uk :

“Three successive wins for the Rhinos have secured them second spot in the Betfred Super League table heading into the Super 8s in August but Head Coach Brian McDermott will have a nervous wait to see if his troops come through Friday’s clash with Wigan ahead of next Saturday’s Ladbrokes Challenge Cup semi final against Hull FC at Doncaster.

England stars Kallum Watkins (knee) and Ryan Hall (concussion) joined the list of sidelined stars after last week’s win over Hull FC at Headingley Carnegie. Likewise, Stevie Ward is ruled out following his concussion last Friday.

Keith Galloway was ruled out for the season with an Achilles injury whilst fellow forwards Brad Singleton (calf), Adam Cuthbertson (knee), Brett Delaney (knees), Josh Walters (knee) and Brett Ferres (knee) are all out as well.

Rhinos skipper Danny McGuire exacerbated a hamstring injury in the win over Hull FC. He joins Rob Burrow (shoulder), Ash Handley (knee) and Liam Sutcliffe (hamstring) on the sidelines.

Forwards Cameron Smith and Mikolaj Oledzki have been recalled from their loan spells at Bradford Bulls.

17-year-old centre Harry Newman and Under 19s hooker Harvey Whiteley have been called up for their debuts whilst second row Alex Sutcliffe, who has been 18th man for three games this season could also make his debut.”

Wigan 19 Man Squad:

leeds home

Wigan name the same 19 man squad which lost to Warrington last week, meaning that Liam Farrell, Joel Tomkins and Dom Manfredi are the only absentees from squad numbers 1 – 13.

Thoughts on the Game

After last weeks game against Warrington, morale is low amongst Wigan fans, a drab match with a very disappointing attacking display sprinkled with ill-discipline. However, that game has been and gone, eight days preparation for the biggest two games of the season coming up. A must win game against second place Leeds on Friday, another opportunity to gain ground on the top four followed by the Challenge Cup Semi Final.

Before the game and after Leeds’ 10 – 7 win over Hull FC last weekend you would have Leeds down as firm favourites to win this game. However, after the announcement of the 19 man squads, Wigan on paper are now the stronger side. Leeds are missing 13 players and are likely to hand out debuts on Friday. A game in which Leeds are missing players and a must win game for Wigan, Wigan can simply ill afford to lose on Friday.

A great opportunity to get a confidence boosting win ahead of the Semi Final and ahead of the Super 8’s campaign. No more excuses, time to perform.

Looking at the 19 man squad, my Wigan line up for Friday would be:

  1. Tomkins
  2. Burgess
  3. Gildart
  4. Gelling
  5. Marshall
  6. Williams
  7. Leuluai
  8. Sutton
  9. McIlorum
  10. Nuuausala
  11. Isa
  12. Bateman
  13. O’Loughlin

Sub. Powell

Sub. Tautai

Sub. Wells

Sub. Clubb

Prediction

The Wigan Rugby Blog predicts:

Score: Wigan 28 – 6 Leeds

First Try Scorer: Joe Burgess

Last Time Around:

Don’t forget, you can vote for your Man of the Match after the game at http://www.wiganrugby.blog or on our social media platforms on Twitter and Facebook

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