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MATCH PREVIEW: v Hull FC (S8’s, R5)

Opponents: Hull FC

Date: 08.09.17

Venue: KCOM Stadium

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

A look at the Opposition

The Challenge Cup winners couldn’t back their Wembley victory yup last week against Leeds at Headingley, losing that game 38-26. Perhaps more damaging for FC, is the suspensions picked up for Steve Michaels and captain, Gareth Ellis. That defeat, along with Wakefield and Wigan picking up two points each last week, cranks up the pressure on Hull and their quest to make the top four.

Wigan know Hull’s strengths, the Wembley defeat is still fresh in their minds and although that game finished three tries apiece, Hull were the much better side on the day. Wigan know where they have got to improve from that game however. A positive from Hulls Wembley performance for me, is that Hull played to their full ability and Wigan didn’t, in fact Wigan were way off in terms of performance – yet they kept themselves in the game.

Hull are without key personnel although their squad remains strong, Friday is a big test for Hull to see whether they have grown and developed as side from last year. Winning the Challenge Cup is a fantastic achievement but Friday could be a test for Hull to see whether they can really challenge on two fronts this year or whether they are going to have to settle for the Challenge Cup again this season.

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Team News

The Hull FC 19 Man Squad:

From http://www.hullfc.com/

Hull FC head coach Lee Radford has made four changes to his 19-man squad for this Friday’s huge Super League Super 8s clash with Wigan Warriors.

The Black and Whites are without captain Gareth Ellis and winger Steve Michaels through suspension, with Carlos Tuimavave and Chris Green ruled out through injury.

Josh Griffin, Liam Watts, Mark Minichiello and Masi Matongo have come back into the squad to replace the missing four.

Winger Fetuli Talanoa, who came off with an arm injury at half-time in last week’s loss to Leeds Rhinos, has been included in the squad for this week’s Super 8s battle with the Warriors.

  1. JamieShaul
    2. Mahe Fonua
    4. Josh Griffin
    5. Fetuli Talanoa
    6. Albert Kelly
    7. Marc Sneyd
    8. Scott Taylor
    9. Danny Houghton
    10. Liam Watts
    12. Mark Minichiello JakeConnor
    16. Jordan Thompson
    17. Danny Washbrook
    21. Sika Manu
    22. Josh Bowden
    25. Jansin Turgut
    27. Jack Downs
    28. Brad Fash
    29. Masi Matongo

Wigan 19 Man Squad:

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Probably the strongest squad possibly for Wigan, with just the long term injuries absent. Joel Tomkins and perhaps crucially, Tom Davies return to the 19 man squad, replacing two try, Under 19 Grand Final Hero – Jack Wells and Nick Gregson.

Thoughts on the Game

Another must win game for Wigan, although they have the luxury of Wakefield and St Helens battling it out against each other on Thursday. The result of that game will give Wigan a clearer picture of the scenario that they need to achieve over their final three games. One thing that is certain, is that Wigan’s top four chances are very much in their own hands. It’s very likely that two wins from three will secure fourth place and a semi-final trip to Castleford, whereas, three wins from three could see them travel to Leeds in the semi-final.

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Last week I was pessimistic about Wigan’s chances against St Helens but very hopeful and Wigan produce a fantastic start to set them on their way. Wigan look like they are in the mood to play, what I call (and there must be a better term for this) “playoff football”. Whereby they look to control a game, too many times in the past two seasons have Wigan allowed teams to get back in a game when they have built a decent lead. However, last week against St Helens, every time Saints look like mounting a comeback, the experienced heads of O’Loughlin and Tomkins would look to take control and take the sting out of any momentum their opposition might have been gathering. More of that will be needed on Friday against Hull if Wigan are to win, if they allow Hull to build up a lead, like they did at Wembley, they may find it hard to get back in the game.

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

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

Sub. Powell

Sub. Tautai

Sub. Isa

Sub. Clubb

Prediction

The Wigan Rugby Blog predicts:

Score: Hull 10 – 22 Wigan

First Try Scorer: Joe Burgess

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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