Warrington Wolves take on the NRL outfit Brisbane Broncos in the reduced four-team World Club Series, with the Super League side looking to restore pride for the Northern Hemisphere competition.
Warrington Wolves – Team news and form
Tony Smith welcomes new signing Kevin Brown into the fold, as well as Ben Westwood; the veteran forward making his first appearance of the new season after injury. Unfortunately, Chris Hill misses out, along with Toby King due to a hamstring injury.
In their first game of the 2016 Super League season, the Wolves were defeated 20-12 against Catalans Dragons in a hard-fought game, in which they made too many errors. Warrington had a few solid performers in the game against the Dragons but they will need to vastly improve if they are to worry Brisbane.
Brisbane Broncos – Team news and form
The Broncos named their squad for this match a week ago, and it sees three big names left at home in Adam Blair, Benji Marshall and new signing Korbin Sims. They look to their youngsters to gain experience ahead of the 2017 NRL season; Jai Arrow, Herman Ese’ese, George Fai, Joe Ofahengaue and Tevita Pangai Junior all named in the squad. New captain Darius Boyd makes the trip to the UK for the Australian outfit.
Much like last season, this game is the first time we’ll see the Broncos in full flow so they’ll be out of match sharpness. However, as we know from their preview games in the WCS, they are a formidable force as they go in search of a hat-trick of series wins after beating Wigan in 2015 and 2016.
Ones to watch and where the game will be won
It’s difficult to choose just one player from each side but in particular for Brisbane as they have huge talent across the field. However, I feel that captain Darius Boyd will be looking to have a massive game for the visitors, as he looks to lead by example with his devastating running game.
For the Wolves, all eyes will be on Kevin Brown to have a strong performance after his big move from rivals Widnes Vikings. The 32-year-old has a vast amount of experience and the Warrington side will be looking to him to produce the kicking game to give the forwards a chance against the talented Broncos pack.
The game will be won in the forwards, and it is where Warrington have the best chance, especially with Ben Westwood returning. It’s important the Super League side start well and shut down any advancing Brisbane attacks before they reach the 20-metre mark, where Brisbane are clearly at their most dangerous.
Warrington Wolves: Ryan Atkins, Matty Blythe, Kevin Brown, Daryl Clark, Mike Cooper, Dom Crosby, Brad Dwyer, Rhys Evans, Kurt Gidley, Jack Hughes, Tom Lineham, Harvey Livett, Declan Patton, Joe Philbin, Matty Russell, Andre Savelio, Ashton Sims, Joe Westerman and Ben Westwood.
Brisbane Broncos: Jai Arrow, Darius Boyd, Herman Ese’ese, George Fai, Matt Gillett, Alex Glenn, Ben Hunt, Jordan Kahu, Andrew McCullough, Josh McGuire, David Mead, Anthony Milford, Corey Oates, Joe Ofahengaue, Tevita Pangai Jnr, Jonus Pearson, James Roberts, Jaydn Su’A and Sam Thaiday.
Prediction: Wolves 10-42 Broncos