Wolves have too much bite for depleted Fax
Centurions ready to put up a fight in France
Warrington v Halifax
Sky Sports Arena, 3.15pm Saturday
Catalans v Leigh
Sky Sports Arena, 5.15pm Saturday
Like Leeds last season, Warrington have had little trouble adapting to an unexpected appearance in the Betfred Super League Qualifiers and Tony Smith’s troops are 1-66 to follow up wins over Widnes and Catalans with a victory over Halifax.
The Wolves won their opening two matches by an aggregate of 80-38 and are asked to concede a 38-point handicap against their Championship opponents at the Halliwell Jones Stadium.
Fax, coached by former Warrington assistant boss Richard Marshall, have been beaten by both Hull KR and Widnes but weren’t disgraced on either occasion as they went down 26-22 and 36-12.
However, their hopes of springing a 50-1 shock have been hit by suspension and injury.
Full-back Will Sharp is banned and Australian forward Mitch Cahalane is definitely out. Half a dozen other players are doubtful.
Warrington hooker Daryl Clark picked up a knee injury last weekend but otherwise the Wolves can field the team who demolished the Dragons and this ought to be a comfortable afternoon for the side who started the season as second favourites for the Super League crown.
Against understrength part-time opponents, the hosts are fancied to do plenty of damage in the second half and they can successfully concede a 20-point handicap after the break.
A heavy shower or two is possible during the match so it’s prudent to keep stakes sensible.
While the Wolves are coasting to a spot in Super League for 2018 Catalans and Leigh are under pressure as they meet in France.
Both have already suffered a defeat in this competition and the Centurions’ loss could be damaging as it came against Championship table-toppers Hull KR. That was a seventh defeat in the last ten games.
Steve McNamara’s Dragons have also lost seven of their last ten although they beat Leigh 40-36 in a nail-biter in July. The Centurions led 28-12 at half-time and look worth supporting in receipt of a 12-point start.
Catalans have won only one match by more than that mark all season and their last home outing was a scrambled 20-18 success over London Broncos.
Warrington -20 on second-half handicap
2pts 10-11 Coral
2pts 10-11 Betfair, Paddy Power