A week after lifting the Challenge Cup, Wigan have to turn their attentions back to Super League and dethroning rivals St Helens who they’re furiously chasing.
In their way this week are rivals Castleford Tigers who will be as fresh as daisies and will be hoping to catch Matt Peet’s side out as they celebrate their first major final win since 2018.
Of course, defeat for the Warriors would be their third in a row in the league and could leave them trailing behind the Saints at the top.
The Tigers have now lost Niall Evalds long term in a major blow for the Tigers whilst Jake Mamo has now been granted compassionate leave to return back home. He’s one of two players who drop out of the squad alongside Sam Hall. Bureta Faraimo and Liam Watts are the two who come into the side in their place.
After playing a key role in the cup win in his return from injury which was set to keep him out much longer than it did, Thomas Leuluai is rested leaving Peet with limited options in the halves owing to Cade Cust’s injury. Fortunately, Sam Powell is back from his ban. Speaking of bans, Morgan Smithies is absent due to a four-match ban.
Match Preview – Key Battles:
Jake Trueman vs Harry Smith: After being the hero in Wigan’s Challenge Cup Final win, Harry Smith will be asked to lead things in the absence of Leuluai and Cust. A great young English halfback, he’ll be up against another top young English half in the creative and dangerous Jake Trueman. Two possible future England internationals, who will have the edge here?
George Lawler vs Liam Farrell: Since switching to the backrow, George Lawler has become a very effective attacking backrow but a major test of his qualities against another top attacking second-row in Liam Farrell who is still at the top of his game.
Where the game will be won and lost:
Wigan can create chances in games where they haven’t been on top even in a Challenge Cup Final. Players like Jai Field, Bevan French and Harry Smith can conjure up something from nothing. They’ll be up against a very physical Cas side who can stretch teams and score points at will when things click. So, this could be all about who can take their attacking chances when they come rather than the general indicators of success. Of course, Wigan’s success in the cup could have an impact on the game. It’s always difficult to raise your game after such a win.
Score Prediction: Castleford Tigers 22-16 Wigan Warriors