Opponents: Salford Red Devils
Venue: DW Stadium
A look at the Opposition
Salford still cant win a game, their last win came on the 2nd July against Huddersfield, that’s six games in a row which they have lost; including of course, the semi final against Wigan. They are a team that are in real danger of letting their top four aspirations slip and a win tonight against Wigan is very much needed; a win that, with Wakefield to come in their next Super League game, would put them right back on course for a top four finish.
A great start to the season followed by the current dip felt like it was due to their over emphasis on their semi final clash with Wigan. I said in my match preview before that game that Salford were in danger of overplaying the game before they even kicked off, it felt like they were too motivated, if that’s even a thing. A gallant effort in the end but a defeat all the same in the semi final. Salford need a win to galvanise their season and to ensure it doesn’t tail off into a season that will be remembered for a good 20 rounds followed by a collapse – lets hope that starts against Wakefield rather than tonight.
Wigan 19 Man Squad:
Wigan replace the injured Tom Davies with Nick Gregson in the squad, which will likely result in a recall for Wigan’s top try scorer this season, Liam Marshall.
Salford 19 Man Squad:
“Ian Watson has named his 19-man squad ahead of Friday night’s Super 8s clash with Wigan Warriors at the DW Stadium, 8pm kick-off.
Junior Sa’u returns to the squad after missing the opening two Super 8s fixtures against Hull and Castleford. Jordan Walne is also moved into the 19-man squad.
Ben Murdoch-Masila misses out following a rib injury picked up in the last Friday’s defeat against Castleford while Daniel Murray is the other change from last weekend’s squad.
Tyrone McCarthy is included in the squad ahead of the trip to Wigan despite pulling up with a calf injury in the warm-up against Castleford last Friday. Kriss Brining retains his place in the side after his return last week.
Lee Mossop and Michael Dobson continue to recover from knocks while Lama Tasi and Mark Flanagan are out for the rest of the season.”
Thoughts on the Game
A week before Wembley and Wigan are in last chance saloon in the league, tonights game could, with over results going their way, put Wigan back in with a very good chance of making the top four. If Wigan are going to make the top four, it will be in fourth place and therefore a Thursday night semi-final against Castleford at the Jungle, as confirmed by the Super League today.
However, before Wigan can even start thinking about semi-finals and Old Trafford, they need to beat Salford and hope Leeds beat St Helens. If that happens, that at around 10pm this evening, the table could look like this:
- Castleford 44
- Leeds 34
- Hull 33
- Wakefield 28
- St Helens 27
- Wigan 27
- Salford 26
- Huddersfield 23
Wigan’s points difference may yet come back to haunt them and the fact that Wigan have to play St Helens away after Wembley, in Ben Barba’s first game – that may prove a little tricky also.
On tonight’s game, well Wigan have to win, last week they won ugly against Huddersfield. It was an atrocious game to watch but what Wigan did do, was improve upon their defence. Tonight, Wigan would ideally get a nice comfortable win with no injuries or suspensions and with lots of confidence going into the Challenge Cup Final; but this is Wigan, so expect the complete opposite!
One dispaointment from tonight is that Tom Davies misses out, he has been incredible since coming back into the side against Salford in the semi-final and it will be a real shame if he misses out on a chance for Wembley selection due to injury. However, Liam Marshall, Wigan’s top try scorer now has a chance to prove his defensive worth after looking dodgy against Warrington and subsequently being dropped and what a great challenge for him – to face Manu Vatuvei – good luck Marshy!
Looking at the 19 man squad, my Wigan line up for Friday would be:
Last Time out:
The Wigan Rugby Blog predicts:
Score: Wigan 24 – 6 Salford
First Try Scorer: Marshall