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Monday, 10 December, 2018

Confident Wigan could put Huddersfield to the sword after break

Warriors have Grand Final in their sights

Dominic Manfredi marked his return from injury with two tries against Warrington
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Betfred Super League
Sky Sports Arena, 7.45pm Thursday

There's a saying in Betfred Super League circles - "it's not how you start, it's how you finish" - and Wigan are aiming to prove that adage correct by winning the Grand Final for the fifth time next month despite enduring a mid-season crisis on the road to Old Trafford.

Shortly after Warriors coach Shaun Wane announced he'd be leaving at the end of the campaign, his side lost four times in five outings which included a televised humiliation at Wakefield.

Wigan drifted to 9-2 for Grand Final glory and there were calls for Wane to leave immediately, but the Warriors boss may well have the last laugh with the Cherry & Whites now challenging long-time market leaders St Helens for favouritism. 

Wigan have won all five of their Super 8s fixtures and victories over Huddersfield and Hull would make them the first side to record a clean sweep in this phase of the competition. 

Those five wins have come by an aggregate margin of 140-54 and the Warriors defence has been absolutely brutal with only ten tries conceded during that period.

Wigan have in-form forward Joe Greenwood available after suspension and Ben Flower could return from a back problem as they aim to land odds of 4-11 at the John Smith’s Stadium. 

Those odds are a lot shorter than they would have been if this fixture had been played a month ago, when Huddersfield were absolutely flying. 

The Giants threatened an unlikely charge towards a semi-final place when they won 11 times in 12 games, but a home defeat to Wakefield sparked a slide and Simon Woolford's side have lost three on the trot.

They were competitive for an hour at Castleford last time out but collapsed late on, conceding three tries in the final ten minutes to lose the second half 28-0.

It was a similar story in the Giants' last home game against Wakefield when a 12-6 half-time lead turned into a 42-16 hammering while they also squandered a half-time lead at Warrington. 

Coach Woolford is set to give a debut to England Academy forward Jon Luke Kirby and it could well be that sights are already being set on 2019.

Wigan look well worth backing to concede a four-point handicap in the second period and more speculative punters can consider wagering that Huddersfield lead at the break and go on to lose again.

Warriors winger Dom Manfredi, who marked his return from a two-year injury absence by bagging a brace against Warrington, looks a decent bet to cross the whitewash again.

Wigan -4 on second-half handicap
3pts 10-11 general
D Manfredi to score a try
2pts 4-5 Betfred, Betfair
Huddersfield-Wigan double result
1pt 13-2 general

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Wigan have won all five of their Super 8s fixtures and could become the first team to record a clean sweep in this phase of the competition
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