Warrington to bounce back from Challenge Cup final disappointment
Hull FC look easy meat for Wolves
Betfred Super League
Sky Sports Arena, 7.45pm Thursday
When Warrington’s players trudged off the Wembley turf last Saturday there was plenty of conjecture that the Ladbrokes Challenge Cup final defeat to Catalans could derail the rest of the Wolves' season.
A few weeks ago, Steve Price’s side appeared secure in a top-four spot but an amazing run of eight wins in nine games by Huddersfield, under their new coach Simon Woolford, has turned up the heat on Warrington.
The two sides meet next weekend and there will be only two points between them if the Wolves lose at home to Hull and the Giants beat Wakefield.
However, backers of Warrington for Grand Final glory shouldn’t throw away their betting slips just yet. Leeds Rhinos were beaten at Wembley in 2011 and 2012 before going on to win the big one at Old Trafford and the Wolves are 9-2 to follow suit.
More immediately, they’re bidding to become the tenth successive Challenge Cup final runners-up to shrug off the disappointment by winning their next Betfred Super League game.
Warrington themselves did just that under Tony Smith in 2016 when they won 26-22 against Catalans in France seven days after losing to Hull at Wembley.
This time they have had only five days to prepare but that may not matter against a Hull side who couldn’t be more out of sorts.
Lee Radford’s injury-hit team have lost their last six matches and have no chance of making the semi-finals.
Half-backs Marc Sneyd and Albert Kelly are sidelined and forwards Mark Minichiello and Chris Green have joined the casualty list.
It was a similar scenario in May when Hull took a surprise 12-0 half-time lead despite missing a host of key players.
The Wolves roared back after the break to rack up 30 unanswered points and win going away 30-12.
Warrington are 1-3 to uphold that form and are asked to concede an eight-point start on the handicap.
That looks within their compass bearing in mind that five of Hull’s six recent losses have been by more than that margin.
Wolves coach Price keeps faith with his Wembley 17 with the exception of Ben Murdoch-Masila, who is replaced by Ben Pomeroy.
3pts 10-11 Betway
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