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Wednesday, 19 December, 2018

Farrell can make his mark for Wigan in cup clash

Both clubs aiming to put league form behind them

Wigan’s Liam Farrell was man of the match in last season’s Grand Final
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Ladbrokes Challenge Cup
BBC1, 3pm

Eight months after they contested a nail-biting Grand Final, it’s incredible to see big hitters Warrington and Wigan both languishing in the bottom half of the Betfred Super League table with their seasons on the line.

The winners of the Ladbrokes Challenge Cup quarter-final at the Halliwell Jones Stadium will be just 80 minutes from Wembley and dreaming of a fourth cup triumph this century.

The priority for the losers will be avoiding a bottom-four finish, particularly if that turns out to be the Wolves who currently lie tenth in the table.

It’s only four weeks since the teams met at the Magic Weekend in Newcastle.

Warrington went off four-point favourites at St James’ Park and the handicappers would have been spot-on but for a last-gasp Joe Burgess try that snatched a share of the spoils for Wigan.

Both teams have lost four on the spin since then and despite having home advantage in this quarter-final, Warrington are six-point underdogs.

That’s entirely due to Warriors coach Shaun Wane being able to call on a number of previously injured stars. Top of that list is England full-back Sam Tomkins who hasn’t played since Wigan’s astonishing comeback win at Warrington last September.

Captain Sean O’Loughlin, John Bateman, Anthony Gelling, Sam Powell and Liam Farrell are also expected to return after spells on the sidelines, so it’s understandable to see why the layers favour the visitors.

However, it’s difficult to trust a team who have conceded 131 points in their last three games.

A better bet may be to back Farrell to touch down at any time. Wigan’s stock attacking play is a right-to-left shift and the rampaging second-rower could be on hand to apply the finishing touch.

Warrington’s hopes of making a sixth straight semi-final have been dealt a blow by the suspension of captain Chris Hill, although Ryan Atkins, Kevin Brown and Kurt Gidley should all return from injury.

Gidley may take the goal-kicking duties in preference to Declan Patton but whoever is given the job, it may be worth backing the first try to go unconverted at 11-4.

Both Wolves kickers have a success percentage in the high 60s while neither of Wigan’s likely kickers George Williams and Liam Marshall have a better than 50 per cent record.

Odds of 11-4 imply there’s a 27 per cent chance of the first conversion being missed when the stats suggest it’s far more likely than that. 

L Farrell to score a try
1pt 13-5 Betfair, Paddy Power
First try unconverted
2pts 11-4 Betfair

The winners of the Ladbrokes Challenge Cup quarter-final at the Halliwell Jones Stadium will be dreaming of a fourth cup triumph this century
E.W. Terms
Sky bet