Super League play-offs: Huddersfield Giants v Wigan Warriors preview

Last updated: 12th September 2013  

RUGBY LEAGUE SUPER LEAGUE Josh Charnley Wigan Warriors

Wigan Warriors will turn to Super League's top try-scorer Josh Charnley for inspiration in Huddersfield

Shaun Lunt huddersfield giants

Huddersfield Giants' star hooker Shaun Lunt back for the visit of Wigan on Thursday

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Giants v Warriors
Thursday, 8pm

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The victors of Huddersfield Giants' play-off clash against the Wigan Warriors at the John Smith's Stadium on Thursday will be 80 minutes away from a Grand Final appearance.

It is the League Leaders' Shield winners verses fourth in West Yorkshire, as the Giants seek a third victory over Shaun Wane's men this season.

The Giants toppled Wigan 22-10 at home in February before claiming the spoils in the reverse fixture last month with a 30-12 triumph at the DW Stadium.

However, the Tetley's Challenge Cup winners cannot be underestimated and while their recent Super League form is poor, Wigan are capable of beating anyone on their day.

The Warriors reached the semi-finals last season before losing to eventual winners Leeds and Wane's squad are packed with world-class talent, as are Huddersfield.

First hurdle

The Giants made the play-offs last time around, but fell at the first hurdle losing 46-10 at Hull FC, while Wigan brushed aside the Catalan Dragons before their 13-12 loss to Leeds.

Huddersfield head coach Paul Anderson is set to recall a host of big names for the visit of Wigan after he rested a number of stars for the thrashing at Bradford last time out.

Key trio Danny Brough, Shaun Lunt and Eorl Crabtree have all been recalled along with Luke Robinson, Jermaine McGillvary, Leroy Cudjoe, Scott Grix, Craig Kopczak and Brett Ferres.

Ukuma Ta'ai has been named in the squad despite suffering a badly split lip at Bradford Bulls on Saturday, while fellow back-rower Dale Ferguson has now recovered from a knee injury.

"We've got as good a chance as anyone else," Lunt, who helped Leeds win last season's Grand Final while on loan, told the club's official website.

Preparation

"Obviously the top four get a second bite, but we don't want to have to use that. Ideally we can win on Thursday, then we can have a week off to prepare properly for the semi-finals."

Gil Dudson is available for Wigan after missing their defeat to Leeds, Darrell Goulding is doubtful following a clash of heads with Harrison Hanson in the last game, while Epalahame Lauaki is unavailable.

Iain Thornley (sickness) and Chris Tuson (leg) will be given late fitness tests by Wane before the Warriors boss finalises his team.

"Gil will be fine after missing last week with a shoulder. Epalahame Lauaki is out though. Darrell Goulding is a doubt after a bang on his head last week and he will need the head test at the end of the week," Wane told Wigan's official website.

"Iain Thornley has also gone down with a bug and was in hospital Sunday night so we will check on him. We also need to check on Chris Tuson who had a tweak with a leg problem in training and it will be Wednesday before we are able to finalise our team."

Huddersfield Giants: Grix, Cudjoe, Wardle, McGillvary, Brough, Robinson, Crabtree, Lunt, Kopczak, Ferres, Faiumu, Lawrence, Patrick, Chan, Ta'ai, Murphy, Ferguson, Blackmore, Wood.

Wigan Warriors: Charnley, Crosby, Dudson, Farrell, Flower, Gelling, Green, Hansen, Hughes, McIlorum, Mossop, A. Powell, S. Powell, Richards, Smith, Taylor, Thornley, S. Tomkins, Tuson.

Huddersfield v Wigan is live on Sky Sports 1 this evening, kick off 8pm.

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