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.