Deadlines dictate that I’m writing this before Warrington Wolves battle it out with the Brisbane Broncos in the first World Club Series game. This is the big game though as Wigan Warriors look for a fourth World Club Challenge whilst Cronulla Sharks will be looking for their first.
Don’t get caught out though as the game kicks of at 3pm, it’s not the usual Sunday evening kick off.
We’ve all heard about the Sharks trips to Paris, the rumours they’re over here for a holiday but I don’t believe that for a second.
Cronulla won’t want to be the first NRL side to lose a World Club Challenge since 2012 so they will be up for this, they have brought a very strong squad packed with talent like Paul Gallen and and Ricky Leutele.
Shaun Wane, meanwhile picks from the same squad that won comfortably at Salford last week. The Warriors went in with 26-point lead at half-time last week before conceding 16 second half points, but they surely had one eye on this with the game won.
Super League sponsors Betfred give Wigan an 8-point start for this and whilst I agree this is our best chance of winning the World Club Challenge for a few years, I’m not sure this Sharks side will repeat the heroics of last year, I think the handicap is about right.
I just feel the Sharks will do enough to get the job done maybe by about 6-10 points in a tight encounter.
Big games involving Shaun Wane’s sides tend to have low points totals as he puts the emphasis on defence so I would probably prefer the unders to the handicap, especially if the rain comes. The handicap could go either way, if pushed maybe Wigan can stay just inside it.
The Warriors are 5/2 to win this but if you do fancy them I’d shop around for a price to lift the trophy as the draw could be a major player in 80 minutes.
The Sharks are 1/3 for a 1st World Club win but if you’re confident this can be boosted to 4/6 on the Half Time Full Time, a Sharks win by more than 12 points can be backed at 13/10.
First scoring play a penalty could be the best value bet of the night, surely both sides will want to put points on the board early, this works out at around 3/1 if you back both sides to half your stake.
Joe Burgess scored a try in Sydney the last time Wigan played in the World Club Challenge, he’s off the mark already for the season and is first try value at 8/1.
Finally the Man of the Match – Jack Bird heads the betting at around 6/1 closely followed by James Maloney at around 8/1. Gallen is the club talisman, and his stock will be high in the Sky box so he could just be the better value at around 16/1.
As for the Warriors, George Williams heads the betting at 11/1 with John Bateman. This may not be the type of game where Williams will shine but on the other hand it’s made for the all action style of Bateman. He is Wigan’s best player and I just prefer him over Sean O’Loughlin, who is a real danger at 20/1 – so it’s Gallen and Bateman for me .
Click here to go to Super League Sponsors Betfred’s website .
We are back to the bread and butter of Super League next week. As always please gamble responsibly.