Super League Widnes Vikings v Warrington Wolves preview
Last Updated: 19/07/14 11:08am
Warrington Wolves go in search of an 11th straight win as they travel to the Select Security Stadium to face fierce local rivals Widnes Vikings.
Last year’s Grand Finalists remain in the five-team hunt for the League Leaders' Shield with two points separating them from table-toppers St Helens as Super League enters a 21st round of action.
Tony Smith’s side made it 10 wins from 10 on Sunday with an emphatic 72-12 victory that saw London Broncos’ stay in the top flight ended after 20 successive Super League defeats.
Joel Monaghan crossed for four tries while Chris Hill and Ben Currie both claimed hat-tricks as the Wolves kept pace with the summit-chasing pack.
Widnes meanwhile find themselves languishing in eighth following back-to-back defeats at the hands of in-form sides Castleford Tigers and Wakefield Wildcats.
Despite being edged 12-10 at the Rapid Solicitors Stadium last Thursday the Vikings retained eighth spot, though, the Wildcats – currently in the midst of a remarkable unbeaten run under new coach James Webster – are gunning for that final playoff berth.
Following that reverse in West Yorkshire, Vikings prop Phil Joseph was handed a one-match ban for a dangerous challenge on Wildcats second row Taulima Tautai.
Joseph’s suspension, coupled with the absence of Lloyd White, could pave the way for a Super League debut for hooker Liam Carberry.
Cameron Phelps and Jack Owens could resume their centre-wing partnership after the former recovered from a head knock, while the latter returns at the expense of Pat Ah Van after a brief break.
Meanwhile, Wolves head coach Smith retains faith in the same squad that thrashed the Broncos last time out.
Smith’s side prevailed on home soil in the reverse fixture but suffered a 38-22 defeat in their last Super League outing on the Vikings’ artificial pitch and the Australian coach hopes it will be a very different story on Friday.
“I appreciate the feeling this game has between the two sets of fans but our job is to get out there and perform every week,” Smith told the Warrington Guardian.
“It doesn’t change anything for us. We’re aware it’s a ‘derby’ and we’ll be trying hard like we do every week.
“We’ll respect Widnes in the way we should. We remember a heavy defeat there last time and certainly don’t want that to happen again.
“The pitch is different to play on. People play differently and the ball reacts differently, the players tackle differently and approach the game differently.”
Widnes Vikings: Allen, Brown, Cahill, Carberry, Clarke, Dean, Flynn, Galea, Gerrard, Hanbury, Isa, Johnson, Kavanagh, Leuluai, Marsh, Mellor, Owens, Phelps, Tickle
Warrington Wolves: Asotasi, Atkikns, C Bridge, Currie, Dwyer, England, R Evans, Harrison, Higham, Hill, King, O’Brien, Ormsby, Philbin, Ratchford, Riley, Russell, Westwood, Wood
Watch Widnes Vikings v Warrington Wolves live on Sky Sports 1HD from 7:30pm