March 14th, 2019

Bad blood preview: Wire v Wigan

There’s a Grand Final rematch on Friday night when local rivals Wigan Warriors visit The Halliwell Jones Stadium, 7.45pm.

The Warriors have struggled in the opening five rounds of the season with just one win so far in 2019.

Wigan have already suffered defeats to St Helens, Hull FC, London and Huddersfield, as well as last month’s World Club Challenge against Sydney Roosters, and will be desperate to recapture the form which steered them to Grand Final success last season.

There’s no love lost between Warrington and Wigan and the fixture is well established as one of the biggest games in the Rugby League calendar.

There have been many classic encounters between the sides over the decades and Friday’s clash should be no different.

Squad news

Head coach Steve Price has named our 19-man squad to include Ben Currie; who made his return last week. Bryson Goodwin is confirmed out with an ankle injury sustained in the win over Castleford.

Wire squad: Ryan Atkins, Blake Austin, Josh Charnley, Daryl Clark, Jason Clark, Mike Cooper, Ben Currie, Chris Hill, Jack Hughes, Toby King, Tom Lineham, Jake Mamo, Ben Murdoch-Masila, Declan Patton, Joe Philbin, Stefan Ratchford, Lama Tasi, Danny Walker, Ben Westwood.

Danger men

The departures of influential players Sam Tomkins, John Bateman and Ryan Sutton have been a big blow for Wigan in the off-season.

Zak Hardaker has been brought in at full-back and has began strongly making 606 metres and 78 carries – the most at the club.

The full-back’s signing was seen by most as a controversial one given his off-field problems and he will be desperate to repay the faith Wigan have put in him with strong displays this year.

Sam Powell is another key player for Wigan and has made the most tackles for the club with 224 this season. The hooker has made 17 dummy runs so far in 2019 and set up three scores.

Skipper Sean O’Loughlin is an experienced player in this fixture and will look to lead from the front.

Man in the middle

Ben Thaler will officiate tomorrow’s clash with Robert Hicks the video referee.

Words from the boss

Steve Price: “It doesn’t seem that long ago that we walked off Old Trafford as losers.

“I’ve still got a burning desire to go that extra step this year.

“But we’ve got a totally different team this year, it’s an exciting team and a group of men I’m really proud to coach.

“It will be a totally different game this week – they haven’t been going that great, but one thing I know about Wigan is that they’ll be ready to play.”

Player’s perspective

Mike Cooper: “It’s been pretty brutal, and it won’t be any different on Friday night – I wouldn’t expect anything less.

“There’s always respect there and I’ve got a lot of respect for anyone that plays rugby league.

“But it will all go out of the window for 80 minutes because that’s how rugby league is.

“We’ll go hard at each other but shake hands after it, and that’s what makes our sport so great.”

Matchday entertainment

There will be a huge firework display as the player’s enter the field tomorrow night.

Local band Kula Bay are performing in the Brian Bevan corner of the stadium.

Legendary DJ Clint Boon will be spinning the discs once again in the build up to kick off.

There will be a pop-up shop in the Jack Fish corner for Wire fans to purchase gameday accessories.

As always everybody’s favourite mascot Wolfie will be making his way around the ground with the C4 Consulting Wirettes.

Ticket info

The South Stand has now sold out for this fixture. A limited number of tickets remain available in the East and North Stands.

Tickets are available online and from the official club store for the West Stand priced at £22 adults, £10 juniors. There will be a £2 increase in ticket prices on matchday.

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