Warriors maintain slight edge in blockbuster finale.
As the curtain falls on another Super League regular season, there will be a lot more than local bragging rights at stake when North West heavyweights Wigan Warriors and Warrington Wolves square off in a mouth-watering showdown at the DW Stadium tonight.
We’ve got Warriors at 4/9 in the betting for the win, but expect this game to go down to the wire!
With second-place and a favourable play-off route still up for grabs, both teams will be desperate for the two points, particularly as the logjam at the apex of the table means the loser could potentially slip out of the top four, ensuring an uphill battle to get to Old Trafford.
This Sky TV clash is, of course, a repeat of last season’s Grand Final and it would take a brave man to rule out a re-run after both sides advertised their current well-being with near season-best performances against heavy-duty opposition last weekend.
Whilst reigning champions Wigan were very good in disposing of Challenge Cup winners Leeds Rhinos before a 20,000 home crowd, Warrington were arguably even better when travelling to St Helens to ruthlessly dismantle the table-toppers on their own patch.
The return from injury of hooker Michael Monaghan appears to have been the catalyst for Warrington finishing off an indifferent campaign with a ‘wet-sail’ and the masterful Aussie pivot was again in superb form at Langtree Park, controlling proceedings behind the excellent work of dominant forwards Ben Harrison and Chris Hill.
However, for Monaghan and his fellow pivots to have the same effect vs Wigan, they need the pack to be rolling forward in the same manner, and that may be difficult with influential back-rowers Ben Westwood and Simon Grix both missing out with injuries picked up in the Saints game.
The loss of England man Westwood will be particularly keenly felt in a match of such intensity, and that is undoubtedly a factor as to why Warrington come into this game as 8/5 outsiders, even though Paul Wood and Anthony England are able replacements.
There are no such injury headaches for Wigan coach Shaun Wane who has all of his big-guns available at the right time.
A return for game-breaking centre Anthony Gelling is likely to be the only change from the 17 which shut out Leeds in comprehensive fashion and – rather ominously – Wane has warned there is still a “massive amount of improvement” in his team.
These two sides hold no secrets from each other and – though it could be argued that the Warriors shouldn’t be such warm 4/9 favourites – they do hold the psychological edge, having defeated the Wolves in both last season’s Grand Final and the corresponding fixture at the Halliwell Jones Stadium.
If there is any value to be found from a betting perspective, it could be from a half-time/full-time angle. Take the draw/Wigan at 14/1 and Warrington/Wigan at 11/2.
The match kicks off at 8.00pm tonight at Wigan’s DW Stadium.
Visit our Super League betting hub for all the odds on this weekend’s action.