Super League gets underway with an eagerly anticipated clash at the Select Security Stadium. Wigan’s last conpetitive outing was their Grand Final defeat to St Helens, and they will be keen to put down a marker for the new campaign.
Widnes will begin the season with big expectations, though, and will be keen to get their own season underway with a bang. The onus will be on experienced stand-off Kevin Brown to lead his team around the park. They will also require an improvement in defence, however, an area they showed some weakness in last season.
Sean O’Loughlin is expected to return to action in the Wigan pack, but Ben Flower is of course going to be absent for a while yet. Two defeats in preseason mean that the Warriors will be under pressure to put in a good performance.
For Widnes, Manase Manuokafoa, Chris Clarkson and Aaron Heremaia are all expected to play a part, after joining in the close season. Welsh prop Gil Dudson, who joined from Wigan recently, will not be available to face his old club, however.
Widnes 19-man squad: Ah Van, Brown, Cahill, Carberry, Clarkson, Craven, Dean, Gerrard, Hanbury, Heremaia, Hulme, Isa, Kavanagh, Manuokafoa, Marsh, Mellor, O’Carroll, Phelps, Tickle.
Wigan 19-man squad: Bateman, Bowen, Burgess, Charnley, Clubb, Crosby, L. Farrell, C. Farrell, Gelling, McIlorum, O’Loughlin, Patrick, Powell, Smith, Sutton, Tautai, J. Tomkins, L. Tomkins, Williams.
Prediction: Widnes will give it a right go, and this could be their best chance of beating Wigan all season. Nevertheless, the Warriors will prevail, though by less than 10 points.
Widnes won 4
Wigan won 12
Widnes highest score: 37-36 (H, 2012) (Widest margin: 24-10, H, 2014)
Wigan highest score: 62-4 (H, 2013) (also widest margin)
Last 10 Meetings:
Widnes 24, Wigan 10 (SLR25, 29/8/14)
Wigan 48, Widnes 4 (SLR2, 18/6/14)
Wigan 48, Widnes 4 (CCQF, 15/7/13)
Widnes 32, Wigan 33 (SLR17, 7/6/13)
Wigan 62, Widnes 4 (SLR8, 23/3/13)
Wigan 54, Widnes 12 (SLR18, 25/6/12)
Widnes 37, Wigan 36 (SLR6, 11/3/12)
Widnes 10, Wigan 64 (CCR5, 8/5/10)
Widnes 24, Wigan 34 (CCR4, 1/4/07)
Widnes 24, Wigan 48 (SLR24, 14/8/05)