World Club Series Preview: Warrington v St George-Illawarra

The World Club Series kicks off at the Halliwell Jones Stadium on Friday night, when Tony Smith’s Warrington welcome the St George-Illawarra Dragons to their home.

Anthony England comes into the Wolves squad in place of Welsh forward Ben Evans, in the only change from the team’s last Super League outing, a one point win at Hull.

Heath L’Estrange, a familiar face to Bradford fans after he spent four years with the West Yorkshire outfit, is expected to make his debut for the Dragons.

Another familiar face to British fans will be England stand-off Gareth Widdop, who will partner Kiwi star Benji Marshall in the halves for the visitors.

Prediction: The Wolves are clearly well-motivated for this one, and the Dragons may well be a little undercooked for the intensity of the occasion. It will hard work for the Wolves, with class like Widdop and Marshall in opposition to them, but home advantage should tell, and the Wolves will win by four to ten points.

Warrington Wolves (19-man squad): Asotasi, Atkins, Bridge, Clark, Currie, *England, Evans, Harrison, Higham, Hill, Laithwaite, Monaghan, Myler, O’Brien, Penny, Ratchford, Sims, Westwood, Wheeler.

St George Illawarra (19-man squad): Aitken, Ah Mau, Creagh, de Belin, Dugan, Farrell, Frizell, L’Estrange, Marketo, Marshall, Merrin, Nabuli, Nielsen, Nightingale, O’Brien, Rein, Rose, Thompson, Widdop. 

Warrington Wolves – previous World Club Challenge appearances

Roy Asotasi (2005, Canterbury Bulldogs v Leeds, Lost), Mick Higham (2003, St Helens v Sydney Roosters, Lost).

St George Illawarra Dragons – previous World Club Challenge appearances

Ben Creagh (2011, St George Illawarra v Wigan, Won), Dan Hunt (2011, St George Illawarra v Wigan, Won), Heath L’Estrange (2009, Manly v Leeds, Won), Trent Merrin (2011, St George Illawarra v Wigan, Won), Dane Nielsen (2010, Melbourne v Leeds, Won), Jason Nightingale (2011, St George Illawarra v Wigan, Won), George Rose (2012, Manly v Leeds, Lost), (2009, Manly v Leeds, Won), Gareth Widdop (2013, Melbourne v Leeds, Won)

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