Saturday, 30 March 2013

Warriors Triumph In Good Friday Derby

A pulsating Good Friday derby at the DW between Wigan and St Helens saw the Warriors claim the first bragging rights of the 2013 season with a fabulous performance.

The opening minutes saw both sides fail to complete sets with a succession of drives followed by fifth tackle kicks an early chance came for Saints when Wellens broke free but his pass wide missed Gardner and went into touch.

Wigan broke the deadlock in the t33rd enth minute after a nice combination of Green and Smith gave Thornley a run to the line and he supplied a nice pass for Richards to go over for an easy try to send the stadium into a rapturous roar and a sweet touchline conversion put Wigan up 6-0.

St Helens came close to going further behind in the 17th minute as Flower broke clear through the line but he passed back and found Saints arms rather than a team-mates but Wigan added their second score six minutes later as Hughes broke free and with an awesome pass found Sam Tomkins who raced over the line to the anger of the travelling fans, Richards converted and Wigan led 12-0.

Saints pushed to get back into the game and Wigan defended well after being forced to kick three consecutive goal-line dropouts which ended with Turner dropping for Saints and handing Wigan the ball back.

Saints hopes of a comeback suffered a blow in the 33rd minute as a high kick from Jones hit the ground near the Wigan line allowing Charnley to scoop up and race the length of the field to cross for an unbelievable try, he charged 90 meters unchallenged leaving marker Meli in his dust in a time of 13 seconds which sent the home fans wild and Richards went three for three with the successful conversion to give Wigan an eighteen point lead.

In the build up to Jones' kick, Gardner went down in a heap and after the score went off looking in a bad way to further damage the Saints charge which could have been made even worse just before the break as a run from Charnley and a pass to Hughes put Wigan clear but on receiving, Hughes dropped to save Saints blushes.

Saints started the second half well by forcing an early dropout after Wilkin's grubber kick went through Tomkins grasp but they failed to turn the luck into a try but their luck changed within minutes as a Turner kick found Wellens who was tackled inches from the line.

Then from the next play he found Clough who went over but the try was sent to the Video Referee and after a couple of looks the try was awarded and Saints were on the scoreboard with Percival sending over a successful conversion to make it 18-6.

Saints seemed to have their tails up and were it not for strong defence by Wigan they would have gone in for a second try but Wigan registered the next score as from a 20m restart Josh Charnley went on a nice run and the combination of Smith and Green found Dom Crosby who went over for a superb try which was a deserved reward for a fine afternoon's work and Richards' conversion retained Wigan's eighteen point gap at 24-6.

Saints got a massive bit of luck from the kick off as Sam Tomkins dropped the catch after backing into Ben Flower on the line and a penalty for Saints allowed Makinson to setup Meli for the try but Percival's missed conversion meant the gap was fourteen points requiring Saints to score three more to win.

They could have gone further behind after a good Wigan move left Crosby on the line with an oncoming pass but his momentum saw him drop with a second try being so close and minutes later, Saints were on the board again as Meli passed for Makinson to go over in the corner and this time Percival was successful and meant Wigan led 24-16 with ten minutes to go.

Wigan all but sealed the win within two minutes of Makinson's try as a sweet pass by Farrell allowed Richards to charge for the line and go over but Silverwood went to the Video Ref as it was unclear whether Richards had entered in touch before grounding the ball but on review it was deemed he was safe and as the try was confirmed it resulted in a deafening roar from the Warriors faithful and despite failing to convert his own try, Richards had surely sealed a brilliant win.

Saints charged to comeback in the final minutes but to no avail and with Dom Crosby receiving a deserved man of the match award in front of an attending 23,861 and the hooter sounding, Wigan had defeated their fierce rivals in an amazing game which truly lived up to previous Easter meetings and sent them top of the table for the time being.

Despite predicting a Wigan win by 12 points which did come true I went for 16-20 on a bet so got one right and one wrong but a saving grace was the news later on that Warrington and Huddersfield had lost meaning Wigan stayed top on points difference going into an Easter Monday tie at Hull KR.

Thursday, 28 March 2013

Derby Day At The DW

Religiously, Good Friday is known as the crucifixion of Jesus Christ but in Wigan and St Helens it is also known as 'Derby Day' on which the two fierce rivals face each other in a typically close game.

Last season a lot of fans felt the derby had lost its intensity due to the sides meeting five times across the season but tomorrow is the first since the final day of the 2012 regular season when Saints came to Wigan and spoit the League Leaders' party so Wigan will hope to avenge the defeat and take the first bragging rights of 2013.

Unlike the poor 11,904 showing in last week's game, a massive haul of 22,000 tickets have been sold so far so the DW will be packed out on what I hope will be a day of glorious sunshine like in 2011 when a last gasp Liam Farrell try secured the win for the Warriors who have a good recent record in regular rounds having won three of the last five including a crushing win at the Magic Weekend last May.

Saints have had a decent start to the year under new coach Nathan Brown but like their counterparts have suffered defeats to Leeds and Huddersfield and come into the Easter Derby for the first time in seven years not as a Grand Final participant from the previous year.

Both teams have injuries but that will not serve as an excuse for the game not to live up to its predecessors and also with a number of debutant to the fixture the lack of experience with such an atmosphere could prove pivotal.

Wigan have Lee Mossop, Harrison Hansen, Gil Dudson and Anthony Gelling all still missing through injury so an unchanged squad will face St Helens while St Helens bring in Anthony Walker for Tony Puletua and Jonny Lomax misses out on the 19.

Wigan -Greg Burke, Josh Charnley, Dom Crosby, Liam Farrell, Ben Flower, Darrell Goulding, Blake Green, Jack Hughes, Rhodri Lloyd, Michael McIlorum, Sean O'Loughlin, Pat Richards, Tom Spencer, Matty Smith, Scott Taylor, Iain Thornley, Logan Tomkins, Sam Tomkins, Chris Tuson
For the visitors Anthony Walker returns to the side in place of the injured Tony Puletua and the influential Jonny Lomax also misses out.
St Helens-Paul Wellens, Ade Gardner, Jordan Turner, Sia Soliola, Francis Meli, Josh Perry, Louie McCarthy-Scarsbrook, Jon Wilkin, Willie Manu, Anthony Laffranchi, Mark Flanagan, Paul Clough, Josh Jones, Tom Makinson, Nathan Ashe, Alex Walmsley, Anthony Walker, Mark Percival, Lewis Charnock.

Prediction wise, I think it will be a close one so will go for Wigan 24 St Helens 12 with good weather conditions of course.

Wednesday, 27 March 2013

Hat-trick Heroes Crush Sorry Widnes

Under a blizzard of snow, Wigan crushed a Widnes side who came into the game confident that they could repeat the famous 37-36 upset from last season but how wrong they were as Wigan won with a 58 point gap.

Widnes started the better as a dangerous kick from White came close to Flynn collecting but Richards caught in goal and forced a restart from the 20m. From the restart, Charnley broke through the line and slipped a sweet pass to Sam Tomkins who dived over for the opening try. Roby went to the video referee (Ganson) but the try was awarded and Richards successful conversion put Wigan up 6-0.

So far this season, Charnley has not been hitting the line as much as in 2012 but he quickly made up for that with a ten minute hat-trick beginning in the 12th minute as Richards superb one handed catch and run put Wigan with an advantage against a stuttering Widnes line and the ball came to Green who sprayed a pass to Charnley who went over after running across the back to the sticks and Richards converted for 12-0.

The away fans vented their anger at what they deemed was a forward pass on the replay but their anger increased as Charnley notched his second score after a fine run by Thornley. Thornley found space and it allowed him to him pass to Charnley who went clear over the line, Richards converted and with barely 15 minutes played Wigan led 18-0.

Charnley completed his hat-trick after Smith flew through the line and dispatched a superb kick for Charnley to collect and slide over for the try, Roby went to the 'screen' as it looked debatable whether Josh was in touch but the replay showed he was safely inside the line and the try stood while Richards fourth conversion put Wigan 24-0 up.

Widnes were unlucky not to register their first score as Ah Van went over in the corner and again Ganson was called into action and it was deemed that Ah Van's back leg had gone over the touchline before he had touched the ball over the try line and Wigan held on to their clean sheet for the time being.

Celebrating his 24th birthday, Sam Tomkins iced his own cake with a sweet second try as a run by Green saw him offload to Sam who ran at the defence, kicked and collected to go over for the try and Richards sealed his fifth consecutive conversion to put Wigan 30-0 up on the half hour.

Wigan added two more scored before the interval with the first coming as Charnley broke clear and popped the ball to Tuson who went over for a simple finish but Richards' first miss of the night put the score at 34-0. The second came just before the break as a lucky bounce gave Taylor possession and he fed Charnley who secured his ninth try of the season and fourth on the night and Richards luck went again in a second miss meaning a half time score of 38-0.

Any Widnes hopes of Wigan easing off were dashed barely two minutes into the second half as Thornley's breakaway set up Farrell for a superb try and Richards got his kicking skills back with a nice conversion putting Wigan 44-0 up.

Wigan made an error which could have backfired in the 51st minute as from a play the ball, Sam Tomkins threw the ball back and it sailed over the line for a dropout but luckily Widnes were unable to capitalise.

Their failure to convert from the dropout proved costly as Wigan added to their lead as Smith coolly kicked a 40/20 and the resulting play saw a nice combination of himself, Sam and Blake Green to put Richards in for a an easy try in the corner and in converting his own try brought up the fifty for Wigan at 50-0 but having gone off just before the interval, O'Loughlin was sat in the dugout fully dressed meaning it could have been an injury that forced him to leave the field.

Thornley was rewarded for his assists with a try of his own which started from a line break by Goulding saw his pass hit the ground but a scoop by Hughes and a run through the centre found Thornley who charged for the line and sealed the try with Richards kicking his eighth conversion of the night to give Wigan a 56-0 lead.

Widnes finally got on the board with five minutes remaining after Joe Mellor found some space and put Lloyd White in for the try to give the travelling fans something to cheer about despite Ah Van's woeful conversion attempt. The try was a scant consolation as Sam Tomkins completed a successful birthday night out with a hat-trick try as Goulding intercepted and offloaded to Hughes who ran and a nice kick forward was collected by the birthday boy to go over in the middle and Richards ninth conversion put his haul at 22 points and meant Wigan sealed a crushing 62-4 win.

To be fair, Widnes' travelling fans cheered their side from start to finish with a booing at half time being a lull in the positivity but to go away after such a defeat and still in high spirits is admirable in an atmosphere that recently has been quiet from the home fans as for this weeks prediction, I said Wigan to win 40-12 but that was before the snow died off a touch so a 30pt swing was likely in good conditions.

Saturday, 23 March 2013

Wigan v Widnes Preview

Usually on a mid-march afternoon, we would be enjoying quality rugby in glorious sunshine but a heavy snowfall had curtailed that despite the wonderful views that it provides.

The game is ON as the pitch is fine and the surrounding area is clear, this fixture is always a strange one as it can be called a mini derby as a lot of the Widnes side are former Warriors players so like coming home for them.

One notable absentee from the team will be Gareth Hock, denied the chance to upset his parent club due to rules in his loan deal but Widnes still have a pack that can threaten as we all saw last year when they performed an amazing comeback to secure victory at the Stobart stadium last March in a 37-36 win after being 18-0 down.

Wigan did get revenge in a crushing 54-12 win at the DW in June and went on to top the league while Widnes finished at the lower end of the table.

This season, Wigan have had mixed form but still sit fourth with a win today taking them to second and one point off the top and Widnes are 11th but with two wins against Hull and London and a narrow defeat to St Helens will give them confidence ahead of a tough week starting with Wigan today before hosting Warrington on Good Friday.


Wigan: Burke, Charnley, Crosby, Farrell, Flower, Goulding, Green, Hughes, Lloyd, McIlorum, O'Loughlin, Powell, Richards, Smith, Taylor, Thornley, L Tomkins, S Tomkins, Tuson.
Widnes: Ah Van, Allen, Briscoe, Cahill, Clarke, Cross, ,Dean, Flynn, Gerrard, Hanbury, Isa, Joseph, Kavanagh, Leuluai, Mellor, O'Carroll, Pickersgill, White, Winterstein.

Last years upset and the injuries aside, I still think Wigan will secure a comfortable win so I predict Wigan 40 Widnes 12. 

Saturday, 16 March 2013

Leeds v Wigan

A youthful Wigan side travelled to face Leeds with the news that the mercurial Sam Tomkins had failed to make the 17 due to injury meaning Pat Richards dropped to fullback and Hughes covered on the wing.

Wigan had a slow start and fell behind as early as the 10th minute as Ryan Hall danced through the defence and past stand-in fullback Richards to dive over for the opening try which Sinfield easily converted to give the Rhinos a 6-0 lead.

In recent weeks, Liam Farrell has been a consistent try scorer for Wigan and he added to his tally in the 20th minute but only after a video referee decision as Silverwood was unsure whether McIlorum had knocked-on in the build up which saw nice play from Green and Smith before Farrell went over the line. A groin injury to Richards meant the kicking duties went to Smith and he successfully converted his first ever two pointer for Wigan to level the score at 6-6.

Both sides had good discipline as it took until the 24th minute for the game's first penalty to be awarded as Dudson hit a high shot on Peacock and Leeds created a nice chance for Joel Moon but a superb 40/20 from Green allowed Wigan to counter.

Wigan seemed the likelier to post the next score and had a great chance when Buchanan went high on Tuson and conceded a penalty which Wigan elected to kick for goal and Smith did so successfully to give Wigan an 8-6 lead.

Leeds could have led at the break as Hall thundered over the line but thankfully for Wigan, Charnley got himself between the ball and the ground to deny the try and preserve the lead into the break.

Leeds did regain the lead early in the second half as the ball bounced off Charnley while being tackled by Hall and enabled Moon to go over for the try unmarked but the decision went to the video referee who deliberated for two minutes before awarding the score. Sinfield added to conversion to out Leeds up 12-8.

Leeds went clear on the hour mark as Jones-Buchanan swished past a diving Green to go in under the posts and Sinfield's conversion put the Rhinos 18-8 up. Wigan closed the gap back to four points as a nice combination of passes between Smith Green and Farrell allowed Thornley to crash over in the corner and a sweet conversion from the touchline by Smith put the score at 18-14.

Wigan pushed to regain the lead and wasted a glorious chance as O'Loughlin threw the ball out wide to find Thornley but found the fans in the stand instead and in the final seconds a kick to the corner found Charnley and the ball bounced to Tuson who went over but sadly Charnley had knocked on and meant at the hooter, Leeds were the victors and denied Wigan the chance to go top of the table.

I did predict a close game but not as close as what we all saw and the prediction was a long way away mainly because Wigan lost but hopefully will bounce back at home to Widnes on Saturday.

Friday, 15 March 2013

Leeds v Wigan preview

Tonight sees a massive clash at Headingley as reigning Super League champions Leeds Rhinos play host to League Leaders shield holders Wigan Warriors with both hoping to continue their good starts to the season.

Wigan come off the back of a crushing win at home to Catalans while Leeds want to get back to winning ways at home after being humbled by Huddersfield and Leeds head coach Brian McDermott told the media that he expects Wigan to be confident after seeing what Huddersfield did to his side on Friday.

Wigan will be keen to avenge the last meeting between the sides which saw Leeds knock Wigan out of the play-offs before achieving glory in the Grand Final but Wigan will remember the humiliation they dealt Leeds last June as Tommy Leuluai led them to a 50-8 win. Wigan are also undefeated in four visits to Leeds and in regular rounds since 2009.

Both sides have a number of leading lights with the trio of Richards, Tomkins and Charnley for the Warriors and Sinfield, Burrow and Hall for the Rhinos.

Wigan welcome back Darrell Goulding after illness sidelined him for the last three weeks while Leeds are unchanged.


Leeds -Kallum Watkins, Joel Moon, Ryan Hall, Danny McGuire, Rob Burrow, Kylie Leuluai,  Paul McShane, Jamie Peacock, Jamie Jones-Buchanan, Carl Ablett,  Kevin Sinfield (c), Stevie Ward, Brett Delaney,  Ryan Bailey, Ian Kirke, Chris Clarkson, Mitch Achurch, Richard Moore, Joe Vickery

Wigan - Greg Burke, Josh Charnley, Dom Crosby, Gil Dudson, Liam Farrell, Ben Flower, Darrell Goulding, Blake Green, Jack Hughes, Michael McIlorum, Sean O'Loughlin, Sam Powell, Pat Richards, Matty Smith, Scott Taylor, Iain Thornley, Logan Tomkins, Sam Tomkins, Chris Tuson

I see this being a very close game hopefully not as close as the 13-12 last season but also see Wigan coming out on top at a score of 32-20.

Tuesday, 12 March 2013

Wigan v Catalan

A downpour at the DW pre-game threatened ruin the celebration of Pat Richards' 200th game and the hopes of his 150th try but to no avail as he played a milestone 80 minutes to remember.

Both sides had a cagey first quarter with Bentham's consistent awarding of penalties for offside by both meaning the game had no real flow, the best chance came in the 17th minute as Menzies went on a superb run and got to 10m out before being tackled.

However, in doing so put Catalans in a great field position on the final tackle and the resulting kick went straight to Richards and gave Wigan the chance to attack.

Smith ran towards the defence and offloaded to Green who went over for the night's first try and improved his popularity with the Wigan faithful and in Richards' conversion made it 6-0.

The flow continued to be lacking as penalties for offside kept coming but both sides were also makig errors, Catalans being penalised for a forward pass from which Wigan failed to add to the score and Wigan forcing a couple of dropouts after some forceful attack and defence.

It took until the 32nd minute before another register on the scoreboard as Green sprayed a pass to O'Loughlin who powered towards the line and offloaded to Tuson to dive over for his second try in a week and the successful conversion put Wigan 12-0 up.

Catalans needed to get back into the game but a massive error to clear the ball about 25m from their line cost them dearly as O'Loughlin ran on to his own kick and popped the ball to Hughes who went over to put Wigan in firm control at 18-0 at half time with Pat's milestone try still awaited.

Three minutes into the second half, Richards sealed his 150try in spectacular fashion as he intercepted Millard pass and with the 12,000 Wigan fans roaring him on he raced 90m unchallenged to fly over the line to rapturous applause and reaffirmed why Catalans are good opponents for him, his debut came against them in 2006 and he scored his 1000 point against them in a 58-0 demolition in 2010 and to cap it off he successfully converted his own try.

Wigan were out of sight in the 51st minute as Smith and Green combined to give Sam Tomkins the ball and an easy run towards the line where he went over for a try in the corner, Pat missed from the touchline but Wigan were 28-0 up and soon increased to 32-0 as Richards latched on to a deep kick from Green to run in and score in the corner but missed the resulting conversion.

After being denied the ball for a while, Catalans had the chance to attack and get on the score board as Wigan conceded consecutive penalties and Green went off to a massive applause for a stellar hour on the field.

The discipline of the sides was good until the 66th minute when Elima sarcastically applauded the official for giving Wigan the ball and saw Wigan awarded a penalty and the ball moved 20m closer to the Catalans line.

The intensity hit breaking point minutes later as Sam Tomkins was battered by a high shoulder in a tackle by Pelissier and a brawl ensued with Bentham consulting with the linesman about any offenders and a yellow card and sin-binning was given to Elima for dissent with Sam leaving the field dazed with Crosby replacing him.

Catalans task with only 12 men was near impossible and they clearly frustrated when Charnley forced a drop-out and from the resulting kick it sailed straight out into touch and gave Wigan then ball 10m from the Catalans line.

As the game entered the final minutes, Green was announced as the Man of the Match which was richly deserved for a brilliant performance with four try assists on the night and Wigan put the gloss on the performance as Greg Burke went over for his first try for the club and Pat converted to make it 38-0.

The hooter sounded and Catalans despite all their fight suffered their third nilling in five trips to Wigan with the previous two being 58-0 (2010) and 44-0 (2011 play-offs) and Wigan with rivals Warrington losing kept their 2nd place in the league and continued as top point scorers ahead of a tough trip to Leeds next week.

As the rain came down on Friday afternoon, I thought my prediction of  36-18 was too high in terms of points but in the end it was just the Catalans score which I was a long way from and only two points difference in the end in terms of scores for Wigan.

Friday, 8 March 2013

Wigan v Catalan preview

Tonight sees Wigan host French side Catalans Dragons in a match that each year I put up with games against Leeds and Huddersfield because of consistently for mixed results.

In 2011 at the DW, Wigan were outplayed on a rainy night in April losing 47-28 but since then the Warriors are unbeaten in 3 games including two crushing Play-off wins (44-0, 46-6) and the last home league game exactly a year ago finishing 36-12.  This means that Catalans will be eager to ruin Wigan's record and push themselves to the top of the Super League.

Even though we are only in week six, this game can mean a lot as tonight's winners could go top and in doing so tighten up the top 4 with some big games in the coming weeks.

Wigan have doubts over O'Loughlin and Tuson but still name the same nineteen that beat Casteleford on Sunday, Catalan welcome back Anderson while Baile and Vaccari look set to make their first appearances of the season. Two major injuries may hamper the French with Webb and Dureau out long term.

Wigan: Burke, Charnley, Crosby, Dudson, Farrell, Flower, Green, Hughes, McIlorum, O'Loughlin, Powell, Richards, Smith, Lloyd, Taylor, Thornley, L Tomkins, S Tomkins, Tuson.
Catalans: Blanch, Pryce, Bosc, Elima, Henderson, Casty, Menzies, Anderson, Mounis, Pelissier, Larroyer, Millard, Pala, Simon, Fakir, Baitieri, Duport, Vaccari, Baile.

As my predictions have been mixed this season and the inconsistent form in Wigan v Catalan games in the past I am going to say Wigan 36 Catalans 18.

Thursday, 7 March 2013

Castleford Tigers v Wigan Warriors

After a thrilling 80 minutes at the Wish Communications stadium, a last minute score handed one side a crucial win thanks to a close range try but more on that later.

Wigan started the better as they went in for a try in the 10th minute as Green's piercing pass found Flower who dived under a heap of Cas defenders to put the Warriors on the score board.

Wigan added to their lead in the 25th minute as Richards scored after Green supplied Thornley and Wigan's overlap gave an advantage for the winger to go over in an easy finish.

Carney seemed to be the best of a bad start for Cas but failed to register their first try after a nice run opened Wigan up but he failed to utilise his running support and Charnley quashed the threat.

Rangi Chase kicked towards the post in the next set but Farrell collected and from their set Wigan increased the lead with Green again being the provider this time for with a kick with Tuson took well and went in for the try and Wigan led 16-0.

Cas pushed to get back into the game and finally hit the score board three minutes before the break as Carney found some space and supplied Webster who took on Charnley in a risk but managed to just crash over the line to give them hope.

The hope seemed to falter almost instantly in the second half as McIlorum mastered his way over the line to put Wigan 22-4 up and clear but this exact score happened in 2011 and that game ended 22-22 so the game wasn't over yet.

Cas notched their second score as a break from Tansey saw him feed Webster who flew clear only for Farrell to amazingly catch him but Webster managed to offload to Ellis who scored under the post and put Cas in with a fighting chance.

Ex-Warrior Gilmour broke through the Wigan line and passed to Carney who went over for his second try and with Ellis' conversion they were one score away from Wigan.

Cas pushed to level the score and Wigan dealt with consecutive sets on their own defensive live but a high tackle on Carney on the final tackle gave Dixon a chance but when the play failed Carney collected and dived in for his hat-trick and Ellis's resulting conversion meant the scores were level and set up a nail-biting finish.

Cas came close to leading after Chase attempted a drop goal but it bounced off the post and allowed Wigan the chance to try for their own one pointer with Smith but as he went to kick he was charged down and Wigan needed another way to retake the lead.

Two minutes from the end, Wigan found the outlet in which to hit the front as O'Loughlin fired an expert pass to Tuson to went in from close range to a raucous cheer form the Wigan fans but left Cas devastated that their comeback was all in vain and Richards' conversion on the hooter saw a 28-22 win for Wigan and left my prediction of a close score to be right but closer than my 18 point hopes.


Saturday, 2 March 2013

Castleford v Wigan preview

Following on from their comfortable win over London last Sunday, Wigan travel to face Castleford at the Wish Communications stadium to try and ruin Cas' unbeaten home record which they luckily kept hold of in the stalemate with Catalans on Sunday.

Cas welcome back Rangi Chase who last season was rumoured to be a target for the Warriors after his suspension and Wigan bring in Rhodri Lloyd in place of the sidelined Lee Mossop.

Castleford: Owen, Carney, Shenton, Webster, Dixon, Chase, Ellis, Clark, Huby, Gilmour, Hauraki, Millington, Emmitt, Milner, Massey, Holmes, Thompson, Tansey, Mason.
Wigan : Burke, Charnley, Crosby, Dudson, Farrell, Flower, Green, Hughes, McIlorum, O'Loughlin, Powell, Richards, Smith, Lloyd, Taylor, Thornley, L. Tomkins, S. Tomkins, Tuson.

Both sides will be eager to build on good starts to the season and will hopefully repeat previous meeting in which there have been close games, one example being the 22-22 draw in 2011 when Cas came back from 22-4 to draw.

Even though it was barely 18 months ago, the sides have changed significantly with Wigan losing a lot of their stars including Finch and Joel Tomkins (both scorers in the 2011 meeting ) and Cas only retaining one of their scorer's from the day in the shape of Kirk Dixon.

One Tiger that Wigan will look out for is Michael Shenton (formerly of St Helens) who knows how to beat Wigan and will surely look to continue his winning run against the Warriors from last season.

So in terms of a prediction, I think it will be a close game and will go for Wigan by a couple of scores at Castleford 12 Wigan 30.