Just one week on from the brilliant action of the Rivals Round, we’ve got another seismic game as Daryl Powell’s undefeated Warrington Wolves host a ferocious Wigan Warriors side, hot off the back of their triumph over St Helens.
Warrington Wolves vs Wigan Warriors
Where: Halliwell Jones Stadium, Warrington
When: Friday 14th April, 8pm (BST)
TV: Sky Sports Arena
Warrington’s Last Five: 14-20 Win vs Catalans (Rivals Round), 34-6 Win vs Hull FC (Round 7), 0-38 Win vs Castleford (Round 6), 38-20 Win vs Leigh (Round 5), 10-18 Win vs Hull KR (Round 4)
Wigan’s Last Five: 14-6 Win vs St Helens (Rivals Round), 6-34 Win vs Leigh (Round 7), 20-16 Win vs Salford (Round 6), 12-14 Win vs Huddersfield (Round 5), 10-18 Loss vs Catalans (Round 4)
Betfred Match Winner Odds: Warrington - 8/13, Wigan - 7/5, Tie - 18/1
First Try Scorer Odds: Matt Dufty - 6/1, Matty Ashton - 7/1, Liam Marshall - 7/1, Bevan French - 7/1, Matty Russell - 9/1
Matty Russell is on the verge of a double milestone. He’s one appearance away from reaching 100 appearances for Warrington, as well as being one try away from reaching 100. The 29-year-old Scotsman made his debut at Wigan and scored three times for the cherry and white but he’s been exceptional since rejoining Warrington this season.
Bevan French remains just one try away from hitting his 100 career try milestone also.
Wigan 32-6 Warrington (Round 22, 2022)
Warrington 22-40 Wigan (Round 11, 2022)
Warrington 10-6 Wigan (Round 23 MW, 2021)
Warrington 21-8 Wigan (Round 16, 2021)
Wigan 14-40 Warrington (Round 12, 2021)
Total Super League Meetings: 71 (26 for Warrington, 42 for Wigan, 3 draws)
In the biggest game of the season so far, Warrington are to test their title credentials against a side who are four games into a hot streak of their own. Wigan have dropped the ball on a few occasions this season, with their opening day defeat to Hull KR and a home loss to Catalans being two blots on an otherwise perfect record. Warrington are faultless so far this season, however miss two big players in this week’s clash due to suspension.
Warrington are without Gil Dudson and Joe Philbin, with the former taking a five game ban for striking an opponent. Philbin misses out for two weeks, but the Wolves are bolstered by the return of hooker Daryl Clark.
Wigan have lost Mike Cooper until next season after picking up an injury from a hip-drop tackle against Saints last week. One of the league’s top tacklers, Morgan Smithies sits out due to suspension also. Willie Isa is back in the squad after serving his suspension and could find himself replacing the centres at some point in this match. Youngster Harvie Hill returns from his loan spell at Toulouse and heads straight into first-team action.
Sportsman Stat: No player has scored more tries in games between Wigan and Warrington than Liam Marshall (18 tries in 16 games)
Huddersfield Giants vs Catalans Dragons
Where: John Smith’s Stadium, Huddersfield
When: Friday 14th April, 7:45pm (BST)
Huddersfield’s Last Five: 18-17 Loss vs Leeds (Rivals Round), 16-26 Win vs Salford (Round 7), 12-14 Loss vs St Helens (Round 6), 12-14 Loss vs Wigan (Round 5), 36-6 Win vs Castleford (Round 4)
Catalans’ Last Five: 14-20 Loss vs Warrington (Rivals Round), 22-18 Win vs Castleford (Round 7), 32-22 Loss vs Leeds (Round 6), 26-12 Win vs Hull KR (Round 5), 10-18 Win vs Wigan (Round 4)
Betfred Match Winner Odds: Huddersfield - 4/9, Catalans - 9/5, Tie - 18/1
First Try Scorer Odds: Jermaine McGilvary - 9/1, Tom Johnstone - 9/1, Jake Bibby - 10/1, Tom Davies - 10/1, Will Pryce - 12/1
Harvey Livett is one appearance away from 100 in his career, making just three so far at Huddersfield. Jermaine McGillvary is three tries away from 250, 204 of those so far coming at Huddersfield.
Julian Bousquet is one appearance away from hitting the 250 appearance mark in British/representative matches, 234 for Catalans and 15 for France.
Catalans 13-12 Huddersfield (Round 20, 2022)
Catalans 14-22 Huddersfield (Round 14, 2022)
Huddersfield 28-12 Catalans (Round 7, 2022)
Catalans 18-30 Huddersfield (Round 24, 2021)
Huddersfield 12-50 Catalans (Round 12, 2021)
Total Super League Meetings: 43 (23 for Huddersfield, 19 for Catalans, 1 draw)
Huddersfield are heading into this one without Olly Russell, who suffered a hamstring strain in training last week and is replaced by Jamaican international halfback Kieran Rush. The Giants narrowly missed out last weekend against Leeds, after leading for most of the game, and head coach Ian Watson will be expecting a bit more from his side as they face one of the league’s best sides in Catalans.
Catalans get a boost from the return of Sam Tomkins, who’s featured just twice so far this season and announced his retirement at the end of the season during his absence. Bastien Scimone has been called up to the squad as Micky McIlorum and Alrix Da Costa drop out.
Sportsman Stat: Jermaine McGillvary is the record scorer in this fixture, grabbing 23 tries in 29 games.
Hull KR vs St Helens
Where: Sewell Group Craven Park
When: Friday 14th April, 8pm (BST)
Robins’ Last Five: 0-40 Win vs Hull FC (Rivals Round), 20-12 Win vs Leeds (Round 7), 6-34 Win vs Wakefield (Round 6), 26-12 Loss vs Catalans (Round 5), 10-18 Loss vs Warrington (Round 4)
St Helens’ Last Five: 14-6 Loss vs Wigan (Rivals Round), 38-0 Win vs Wakefield (Round 7), 12-14 Win vs Huddersfield (Round 6), 20-12 Win vs Hull FC (Round 5), 20-12 Loss vs Leigh (Round 4)
Betfred Match Winner Odds: Hull KR - 21/20, St Helens - 5/6, Tie - 18/1
First Try Scorer Odds: Tommy Makinson - 8/1, Ryan Hall - 8/1, Louis Senior - 9/1, Jon Bennison - 9/1, Will Hopoate - 10/1
St Helens 38-13 Hull KR (Round 24, 2022)
St Helens 26-18 Hull KR (Round 15, 2022)
Hull KR 8-42 St Helens (Round 4, 2022)
Hull KR 0-25 St Helens (Round 2, 2021)
St Helens 21-20 Hull KR (aet) (Round 12, 2020)
Total Super League Meetings: 32 (9 for Robins, 22 for Saints, 1 draw)
Willie Peters is set to blood a debutant on Friday night, as Corey Hall has been included in his first Hull KR matchday squad. He joins Phoenix Laulu-Togaga’e in the additions to the 21-man list, in the place of the suspended duo James Batchelor and Sauaso Sue.
Sione Mata’utia misses action this week after his heavy head collision at the DW Stadium last week, as well as Morgan Knowles starting his five-game suspension. Agnatius Paasi and Curtis Sironen sit this one out through injuries. Saints have called up the youngsters to fill their side. Lewis Baxter, Dan Hill, McKenzie Buckley and Wesley Bruines have all been added to Paul Wellens’ squad.
A key battle in this game will be how Saints deal with the offensive kicking game of Jordan Abdull. His kicking has been exceptional in recent weeks as he looks to turn the screw on opponents that have been struggling with weather conditions as well as the attacking prowess of Rovers.
Sportsman Stat: St Helens have won their last thirteen meetings with Hull KR, with the last time the Robins’ claimed a victory against the Saints back in March 2015, in a 24-22 home win.
Leeds Rhinos vs Hull FC
Where: Headingley Stadium, Leeds
When: Friday 14th April, 8pm (BST)
Leeds’ Last Five: 18-17 Win vs Huddersfield (Rivals Round), 20-12 Loss vs Hull KR (Round 7), 32-22 Win vs Catalans (Round 6), 14-8 Loss vs Castleford (Round 5), 26-0 Win vs Wakefield (Round 4)
Hull’s Last Five: 0-40 Loss vs Hull KR (Rivals Round), 34-6 Loss vs Warrington (Round 7), 16-24 Loss vs Leigh (Round 6), 20-12 Loss vs St Helens (Round 5), 14-60 Loss vs Salford (Round 4)
Betfred Match Winner Odds: Leeds - 2/13, Hull FC - 9/2, Tie - 22/1
First Try Scorer Odds: Ash Handley - 7/1, Nene Macdonald - 8/1, Liam Tindall - 9/1, Darnell McIntosh - 12/1, Adam Swift - 12/1
Luke Hooley is set to hit 100 appearances in his career. He’s featured just once for Leeds Rhinos, with the majority of games coming in his spells at Batley.
Leeds 18-22 Hull FC (Round 2, 2023)
Hull FC 16-62 Leeds (Round 17, 2022)
Leeds 8-31 Hull FC (Round 5, 2022)
Hull FC 24-25 Leeds (aet) (Round 23 MW, 2021)
Hull FC 12-22 Leeds (Round 16, 2021)
Total Super League Meetings: 61 (42 for Leeds, 18 for Hull, 1 draw)
Bradford Bulls duo James Donaldson and Sam Walters are returning to Rohan Smith’s 21-man squad for their clash with Hull on Friday night. All players involved in Leeds’ impressive comeback win against Huddersfield remain in the team for this week’s clash. Smith will be looking to get one over on his uncle after losing out already this season to Hull FC.
There’s quite a few changes in Tony Smith’s camp. Kane Evans and Miteli Vulikijapani have been suspended for one match, Jamie Shaul will be missing for two-to-three weeks with a calf injury, and Jake Clifford is set for a longer spell after being on the receiving end of a hip-drop tackle, much to the distaste of some fellow pros.
Leeds have faltered this season against teams that are seemingly weaker, but Hull FC’s injuries and suspensions are crippling to a team that didn’t even manage to score in the Hull derby. It’ll be an interesting one to watch.
Sportsman Stat: Since their 26-24 win at Headingley in July 2019, Hull FC have lost just once away at Leeds in six games.
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