Warrington face Wigan in the quarter final of the challenge cup, for the second year running.
So far this season the two teams that will contest, perhaps the most brutal quarter final in the draw, have met twice. Back in February Warrington held off a second-half resurgence from Wigan and took a 16-10 win at home. However, just 2 weeks ago at the Magic Weekend it was an altogether different story.
Wigan easily won the fixture in Newcastle, ending Warrington’s run of 10 straight wins. However, the manner of the victory will be remembered, more than the significance. Warrington came into the game confident, yet finished shell-shocked. Wigan, who were as good as I have seen them all year dismantled the in form team coming away 38-10 winners, and the victory was well worthy of that score.
Into the next round of fixtures, Warrington looked lost and went in 12 nil down before half-time, against a depleted Hull FC. In the 2nd half, however, the Wire that emerged were once again showing signs of that same team who ran in 10 victories on the bounce, coming out 30-12 winners. Something clearly changed at half time but whether it was poetry, prowess or professionalism that awoke the wolves, they were greatly improved, scoring 30 unanswered points to take the win.
Wigan looked to extend their unbeaten run away at struggling Hull Kingston Rovers, but found ‘the brick wall’ as the Robins ran away with a more than deserved victory, knocking a realism into all Wigan players and fans, that every fixture is a test.
The question may therefore be, which sides will turn up on Saturday, the Warrington team that beat a lost Wigan in February, or the weak looking Wire that capitulated at Magic, whilst Wigan ran rampage.
Was Newcastle a blip for the wire, yes I think it was, just something that’s bound to happen over a season. But whether this side will stand the test of time is yet to be seen.
Away from the pitch there are rumours about Eastmond joining Warrington and who might leave to make way.
There are uncertainties in both camps, as confirmation of coach Shaun Wane’s departure still needs time to settle in for Wigan.
IF the best of Wire meets the best of Wigan it’ll be a cracker. I suggest home field advantage will help the Wire but the voracious away support will do their best to level up. After a great recent Cup record, Wembley is a distinct possibility for Warrington, but Wigan’s record is equally impressive. Both sides looks strong in the league, only being outclassed by a flying St. Helens.
I’m anticipating a home win by the same amount that Wigan won at the same stage last season, but expect a few nails to go in the process.
Warrington 23-22 Wigan