Storm Eunice might be causing disruption to much of the UK but the Friday night Super League has been given the go ahead as two heavyweights of the competition collide at the DW Stadium where the Wigan Warriors host the Leeds Rhinos.
These two teams started the season very differently last week with Wigan picking up an encouraging win at Hull KR while 12-man Leeds for more than an hour were beaten by the Warrington Wolves in their opening game.
Where to watch
The match will be shown live and in full on the Sky Sports Main Event and Sky Sports Arena channels with the build-up to the contest beginning at 7.30pm and the match kicking off at 8pm.
All eyes were on the Wigan Warriors last week to see how they would handle the start of a new era, one which began after the disappointment of the previous campaign which start ok but once it started to unravel got away from them fast. By the end of the season they looked a bit of a mess so there was work to do in the close season and against a dangerous opponent in Hull KR plenty were expecting them to come up short. That wasn’t the case though.
The immediate thing to note from last week is that the defence Wigan have been famed for and relied heavily on in recent seasons still looked to be as watertight as ever. Where the improvements needed to come was in attack where they were particularly poor last season. There were certainly shoots of change in the win over Hull KR and while you wouldn’t say Wigan were free flowing or anything like that, it was encouraging that progress is being made.
The Leeds Rhinos were beaten in their opening match last week but even with just 12 men for more than an hour they are probably still trying to work out how they were beaten. They were all over Warrington for much of the match even when they were a player light but in the end they ran out of legs and went down by a couple of points. There would have been a lot of positives to take out of that performance even if they were eventually disappointed by the result.
One thing they need to brush up on is their discipline. They have a couple of players missing for this one through suspension and the last thing a team needs is its starting players on the sidelines. If you were being critical of Leeds in that game last week it would be that they never really unlocked the Warrington door, although to be fair to them they might well have done with a full complement of players. To keep a team like Warrington to just 22 points being a man down for so long was testament to them.
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Wigan Warriors coach Matt Peet has named a near identical squad from the one which beat Hull KR last week. The one exit sees Iain Thornley missing out after he sustained an injury in the early stages of that contest and will be missing for a few weeks.
Leeds Rhinos have to make a number of changes to their squad here. Ritchie Myler is out with injury while David Fusitu’a is still under concussion protocol. They will also be without James Bentley and Brad Dwyer who are suspended while Rhyse Martin is away on personal leave.
I wouldn’t convinced this would be a high scoring match anyway given how both teams defended last week and when you consider that there is progress to be made offensively for both sides but when you factor in the conditions with Storm Eunice making its way through this part of Lancashire throughout the game. Rain and a huge amount of wind are in the forecast so these aren’t going to be conditions for fast, free flowing attacking rugby.
That probably plays into the hands of the Wigan Warriors a little and their powerful running game but I think the best bet for this match has to be under 34.5 points. Leeds Rhinos were missing their gun kicker Rhyse Martin which might have cost them some points while we saw Wigan have some kicking woes last week. The kickers basically have a whim and a prayer in these conditions so all the points that come might need to come through tries. You’ve got to think we’re going to need at least eight tries to see this line covered but that seems unlikely given the organisation of the two sides and the war of attrition this could develop into. I like the under here.
Back Under 34.5pts for a 3/10 stake at 1.91 with Betfair
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