The league has not been the kindest to Warrington of late. Despite progressing to the semi-finals of the Challenge Cup over the weekend, the Wolves find themselves only two points from being out of the playoffs, with a game in hand over Hull FC and Hull KR who are hot on their heels.
The Wigan Warriors, meanwhile, are in a different vein of form. Without the recent distractions of the Cup – they went out to Hull KR in the previous round – Wigan have won four of their previous six.
A comprehensive win by a margin of more than 38 when they go up against Warrington will put the Warriors on top spot in the league. It’s a guarantee that they won’t remain there, however, with Leeds and St. Helens playing one another on Friday night.
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Warrington will be certain to produce a performance this Thursday night, however. The rivalry between the two sides has created now one of the most intense derbies in the game, and form, as the cliché states, goes out the window.
A Worry For Warrington?
A concern that the Wolves will be carrying into the game is the recent results when the two sides have met.
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Despite the intense rivalry and competitiveness when the two sides meet, Warrington have not beaten Wigan in a league or playoff game since 2013. That means the Warriors have won in the previous fives games.
Included in that run was the 2013 Grand Final victory, as well as a 30-20 result in the reverse fixture earlier this season.
Sure To Be Different
Warrington know the win is all important. With only three games remaining for the team after this fixture, they may very well be waiting until the last day of the season to know their fate regarding the Super 8s.
The Wolves also have to play St. Helens before the season closes, and must therefore surely have to pick up a win against either the Warriors on Thursday, or Saints in a fortnight.
Almost Easy Sailing
For Wigan, the story is completely different. Mathematically guaranteed a place in the top Super 8s, the only struggle the Warriors will have is how high up the table they can finish.
Motivation, assuredly, will not be lacking: Shaun Wane will be certain to want to be a main responsibility in Warrington’s missing out on a playoff spot. And a record amount of consecutive wins over the Wolves cannot be but desired.
Either way, the game is sure to be like all Warrington vs Wigan games: a classic.