On Friday night in the televised game on Sky Sports 2, we have the World Champions Wigan Warriors taking on a struggling Widnes side. Denis Betts and the Vikings will have looked on in envy on Saturday as old skipper Kevin Brown led his new club Warrington to a World Club Series win against the Brisbane Broncos.
Widnes will hope to get something out of this game after beating the Warriors in two out of the three fixtures last season, only losing 7-0 at home to the Champions. The Vikings started the season poorly with a disappointing 28 -16 loss to the Huddersfield Giants, but they can take positives from the final 10 minutes where they staged a fightback that ultimately proved too little, too late.
Head coach Denis Betts felt a poor first-half penalty count drained his Widnes side of energy, he is hopeful they can put that right on Friday night and compete against the Champions.
Wigan coach Shaun Wane has admitted his side will need to prepare mentally for the visit of the Vikings as his side gave their all to become World Champions. “This week is a mental week, we can’t get the players out on the field much so will need to make sure we prepare well mentally. We might not get a sparkling performance but we want to win the game.” Wane has insisted he will have a strong squad out there but did state that there are “lots of bumps and bruises” after a tough contest against the Cronulla Sharks.
“We celebrated what was a massive win for the club and enjoyed the night, but now it’s back in the grind of Super League and we’ve got a must-win game on Friday against Widnes.” Wane added: “I know it’s going to be tough for the players, it’s tough for us as coaches, to change your concentration onto another game. But that’s our challenge”.
Wigan squad: Bateman, Burgess, Clubb, Escaré, Farrell, Flower, Gelling, Gildart, Isa, Leuluai, Marshall, Nuuausala, O’Loughlin, Powell, Sutton, Tautai, Tierney, Tomkins & Williams.
Widnes squad: Armstrong, Bridge, Buchanan, Burke, Cahill, Jay Chapelhow, Craven, Dudson, Hanbury, Heremaia, Houston, Johnstone, Leuluai, Marsh, Olbison, Runciman, Thompson, White & Whitely.
Referee: J Child
Touch-judges: M Craven and L Moore
Video Referee: R Hicks