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Saturday, 17 November, 2018

Wolves can take fight to the Warriors

Warrington won't let Wigan dominate

Ben Currie makes a welcome return for Warrington
1 of 1

Betfred Super League
Sky Sports 1, 8pm Thursday

Wigan edged out Warrington in a nail-biting Grand Final nine months ago and while the Warriors still harbour hopes of retaining their crown, the Wolves are in the last-chance saloon.

Tony Smith's troops must win at the DW Stadium or they will be consigned to a scrap for Betfred Super League survival in the middle 8s starting next month.

The visitors are 11-4 to keep their flickering hopes of a top-eight finish alive and at the same time avenge last month's Ladbrokes Challenge Cup defeat at the hands of these opponents.

Wigan's thrilling 27-26 quarter-final win at the Halliwell Jones Stadium has sparked an upturn in their league fortunes.

A return of five points from three matches has hauled the Warriors to within four points of the playoff places and bookmakers aren't prepared to offer bigger than 5-1 against the Warriors making it two in a row at Old Trafford.

Wigan's revival has coincided with several star names making comebacks from injury including Sam Tomkins, Anthony Gelling, John Bateman and captain Sean O'Loughlin who makes his 400th appearance for his club this evening.

The Warriors are 2-5 to mark the landmark with a win and the skipper is 9-2 to celebrate with a rare try.

The layers offer Warrington a ten-point start on the handicap and that merits serious consideration based on the evidence of the last two clashes between the clubs.

Stefan Ratchford missed a late penalty to win the cup game and Declan Patton then put a drop-goal wide which would have sent the tie into extra-time.

And in the Magic Weekend meeting in May, Shaun Wane's side needed a last-minute try from Joe Burgess to earn a share of the spoils.

So a double-digit start may overestimate the gap between the sides especially if Warrington play as they did last Friday when they scored nine tries in a 50-10 demolition of Leigh.

With Wigan battling to a 32-10 success in France the following evening, the Wolves have had extra preparation time and they welcome back Ben Currie from a serious knee injury which has kept the England international sidelined since last September.

Mike Cooper also returns for the visitors who will be without the suspended Ben Westwood, but he may be missed less than Wigan's injured second-rower Liam Farrell.

Currie was among the tryscorers when the Wolves won on their last trip to the DW last May and is worth a punt to make a tryscoring comeback at 5-2.

And even if Warrington can't repeat last season's success, they can at least stay within touching distance of the champions.

Recommendations
Warrington +10
2pts 10-11 general
B Currie to score a try
1pt 5-2 general

The layers offer Warrington a ten-point start on the handicap and that merits serious consideration based on the evidence
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