Opponents: Leeds Rhinos
A look at the Opposition
What a difference a week makes! Leeds, bereft with injuries just two weeks ago against Wigan and then back at full strength for their cup semi final against Hull FC. Pretty much back to full strength and for 40 minutes in the semi final competed well. Ryan Hall put in a superb performance on the left wing for Leeds, whereas Tom Briscoe on the other side, was targeted and peppered with high balls by Hull FC to great effect. An interesting tactic from Hull, similarly followed by Wigan the next day in their effort to keep Manu Vatuvei’s influence to a minimum.
How do Leeds react from their defeat last week? Is a damaging defeat that Wigan can potentially take advantage off or will it galvanise the Leeds squad to ensure they finish the season on a high note and on a quest for a place at Old Trafford, with the departing Maguire and Burrows at the forefront of their motivation.
In my preview two weeks ago for the game at the DW Stadium, I mentioned the threat that Joel Moon possess from stand-off. Although named in the 19-man squad for that game, he was one of the first teamers rested or “injured” for that match. The same applies for this game, Joel Moon has, almost by accident, become a fantastic threat from half back for the Rhinos. His running game keeps defences guessing and can cause hesitation in defensive lines. I think Leeds chances in this game depend on Moon’s ability to apply himself on the game.
The Leeds Rhinos 19 Man Squad:
“Brett Delaney has returned to the Rhinos squad for this Friday’s opening Betfred Super League Super 8s game against Wigan Warriors at Headingley Carnegie, kick off 8pm.
Delaney has missed the ten games with double knee injuries but he has been cleared to return this week. Likewise Liam Sutcliffe is in contention to return to the matchday squad having missed out last Saturday at the Keepmoat Stadium for the Ladbrokes Challenge Cup semi final. Sutcliffe has not played for a month after suffering a hamstring injury in the win over St Helens at Headingley Carnegie.
Josh Jordan-Roberts is replaced in the squad by Delaney otherwise the Rhinos are unchanged from the side that lost to Hull FC.”
Wigan 19 Man Squad:
Wigan replace the suspended Sam Powell and injured, Joel Tomkins with Josh Ganson and Callum Field in their 19 man squad.
Thoughts on the Game
St Helens timely victory at Castleford last night ensures that this is really a must win game for Wigan. Wigan cannot afford to fall further off the pace, so this is a must win game. Wigan have not won at Leeds since 2012, but their attacking form against Salford in the cup semi final will give the side confidence that they can produce a big win this evening.
With the cup final on the horizon, it is essential that Wigan maintain good, winning form going into that game. The usual trend post cup final is for sides to lose a game or two after the Wembley showpiece, so Wigan need to ensure they get points in the bag pre-Wembley to ensure they are in the best position post Wembley that they can in.
Looking at the 19 man squad, my Wigan line up for Friday would be:
- Marshall – Davies has been brilliant, but I think Wane may go back to Marshall for his finishing ability in this game.
Sub. Farrell/Wells (depending on injuries)
The Wigan Rugby Blog predicts:
Score: Leeds 10 – 22 Wigan
First Try Scorer: Joe Burgess