Opponents: Widnes Vikings

Date: 02.03.18

Venue: DW Stadium, Wigan

Tickets: wiganwarriors.com/tickets

A look at the opposition

An impressive opening day display against Catalans and last week’s victory over Leeds Rhinos ensures that Wigan must not underestimate Widnes. Much was made of the missing players from the Leeds side after the World Club Challenge defeat in Melbourne. However, perhaps unfairly, the amount of players Widnes were missing has perhaps been understated. Denis Betts' squad is not a squad that you would expect to finish in the top 8 of Super League but they have the potential to upset a few sides along the way.

Away from home, however, Widnes are perhaps a different beast to the one that has the home advantage of the pitch. However, underestimate the Vikings at your peril, look back to 2016 when the Vikings recorded a season double over the Warriors at the DW.

Team news

Shaun Wane has made one change to the 19 man squad from last weeks defeat at Warrington, with Craig Mullen being replaced by Joe Burgess. Dan Sarginson misses out again with a shoulder injury.

Widnes Vikings

  1. Greg Burke
  2. Hep Cahill
  3. Ed Chamberlain
  4. Ted Chapelhow
  5. Danny Craven
  6. Alex Gerrard
  7. Tom Gilmore
  8. Rhys Hanbury
  9. Aaron Heremaia
  10. Krisnan Inu
  11. MacGraff Leuluai
  12. Stefan Marsh
  13. Joe Mellor
  14. Tom Olbison
  15. Charly Runciman
  16. Danny Walker
  17. Wellington Albert
  18. Matt Whitley
  19. Sam Wilde

Thoughts on the game

On paper, Wigan has to win this game and they have to win with a good performance.

They must make the most of their first game at the DW Stadium in 2018 and recreate their promising attack from the first two rounds of Super League so far this season.

However, the biggest problem that Wigan perhaps will face on Friday night is the weather. Should the snowy conditions continue, the free-flowing rugby that Wigan will want to play could be restricted and the conditions could act as a leveller for the Vikings.

Either way, I would expect a Wigan side to come through Friday night with a good victory but the victory may come through a forward battle rather than the silky skills of Sam Tomkins and co.

Shaun Wane also faces an interesting decision on Friday with Liam Marshall and Joe Burgess fighting it out for a wing spot while the question mark over the centre position remains.

Will Wane continue with John Bateman at centre, or will we see perhaps Willie Isa or even Joe Burgess deputise in that role?

Looking at the 19 man squad, my Wigan line up for Friday would be:

  1. Tomkins
  2. Davies
  3. Bateman
  4. Gildart
  5. Marshall
  6. Williams
  7. Powell
  8. Clubb
  9. Leuluai
  10. Flower
  11. Farrell
  12. Tomkins
  13. O’Loughlin

I/C. T. Tautai

I/C. R. Sutton

I/C. R. Navarrete

I/C. M. Escare


Score: Wigan 24 – 6 Widnes

First Try Scorer: Gildart