Super League XXVII Play-Offs – Wigan Warriors vs Leeds Rhinos Tips, TV and Betting Preview

The first ticket to Old Trafford will be punched on Friday night when the Wigan Warriors play host to the Leeds Rhinos in the opening Super League XXVII semi-final at the DW Stadium where the winners progress to the Grand Final.

Both teams begin the night knowing they are 80 minutes from the Theatre of Dreams and a win will send them to the big dance. The losers will be watching the Grand Final at home so everything is on the line here.

Where to watch

The match will be shown live and in full on the Sky Sports Arena channel with the build-up to the semi-final beginning at 7.30pm and kick off at the DW Stadium at 8pm.

Wigan Warriors

After missing out on the Grand Final last year after being beaten by the Leeds Rhinos in the play-offs, the Wigan Warriors will be extra motivated to get the job done here. They have two advantages heading into this semi-final in that they have had the week off, which after a brutal schedule to end the season was needed by everyone, and they are at home where they haven’t lost a Super League game all term. They won’t need telling now is not the time to lose their first one.

When you consider where Wigan were a year ago from an offensive point of view then so much credit and plaudits must go to Matt Peet for the job he has done with the Warriors. They score points for fun now, especially on home soil, and are very tough to contain. The longer the season has gone on though their defence has fallen into place too and you sense the Challenge Cup winners are ready to win two more knockout games of footy.

Leeds Rhinos

When you think back to where the Leeds Rhinos were a third of the way into the season, just making the top six looked unlikely so to be in this semi-final is a wonderful achievement. They won’t want their season to end here though and will give it everything they have got. Leeds have won the Grand Final from fifth in the table before so you wouldn’t think the task at hand would worry them, assuming the schedule hasn’t got the better of them.

Leeds have played knockout rugby in their last two matches and come through both games. They had to win their final regular season match against the Castleford Tigers to make the postseason and then went away to the Catalans Dragons and won last week so they know they can handle the pressure of the occasion so now it is all about whether they can get the ball players in the spine of the team involved enough to make a big difference.


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Team News

Wigan Warriors will welcome Sam Powell back for what could be the 250th appearance for the home side. He comes back for Cade Cust who damaged his elbow against the Catalans Dragons in the final game of the regular season.

Leeds Rhinos have failed with their appeal to get the suspension of Rhyse Martin overturned so he won’t be available at the DW Stadium. Morgan Gannon won’t be either after failing a HIA last week. Harry Newman and Ash Handley are both out.

Betting

Some bookmakers are giving the Leeds Rhinos as many as a dozen points in terms of a start for this match and while I wouldn’t like to say for certain that the Rhinos will win the game, that feels like a few points too many for what is sure to be a hugely competitive game with so much on the line for both teams. Both teams know they can win knockout matches. Wigan did it in their Challenge Cup winning run while Leeds have done it for the last two weeks.

This isn’t one of those occasions where running up the score is the priority. This is all about getting to Old Trafford and while that Jai Field and Bevan French combination might well get the Wigan Warriors to Old Trafford, I don’t think the Rhinos have come this far to just roll over and let Wigan have it all their own way. Wigan are unbeaten at home this season but Leeds have won eight of their last nine so I’m expecting an absolute classic here and one which sees the visitors staying within a dozen regardless of who wins.

Tips

Back Leeds Rhinos (+12) to beat Wigan Warriors for a 3/10 stake at 1.91 with Sky Bet

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Author: Martha Chavez