Warrington vs Castleford: Super League head-to-head battles
Watch Warrington vs Castleford live on Sky Sports Arena from 7pm on Thursday
Last Updated: 07/03/19 7:37pm
Castleford are the Super League leaders. They've got a 100 per cent record, four wins from four to lead St Helens on points difference. But they go to Warrington on Thursday night after Steve Price's side lost their unbeaten run at Catalans.
So who will come out on top here? Here's three head-to-heads to decide it:
Josh Charnley vs Greg Eden
There's no surprise to see Josh Charnley doing what he does best in 2019. Scoring tries. He's up to four for the season so far, the most for the Wolves. Charnley has always been a natural-born finisher.
He joined the club at the end of March and still managed to cross 15 times last year, one behind Tom Lineham, Warrington's top scorer. Charnley also went over in the Grand Final against former club Wigan.
The winger's kick return is also coming to the fore. He's got the best average gain of any player at the club - 9.19m a carry - and his 487 metres is only behind Chris Hill, having made 13 less carries. Charnley has four clean breaks and eight tackle busts to his name as well. Just don't give him any opportunity to finish.
Greg Eden is a man in form. He's up to five tries from four games for the season, grabbing a double in the win over Hull KR in the last round. Eden also crossed against London in Round 3 and scored a double on the opening weekend against Catalans.
Injury cost the winger a big part of 2018, but he returned to dazzle at the back-end of the campaign, finishing with 18 tries. It will always be difficult for Eden to match 2017; his 38 tries among many highlights in such a memorable campaign. But he doesn't just bring finishing to the table.
Eden is a strong carrier - 486 metres so far at an average gain of 9.53m per drive, with seven clean breaks and 16 tackle busts for good measure too. If Eden continues at his current rate, he has to be in with a chance of international recognition.
Daryl Clark vs Paul McShane
It could be an early battle for the international number nine shirt on Thursday night when Daryl Clark faces Paul McShane. Clark made two appearances off the bench for England against New Zealand, with Josh Hodgson the current number one. And Clark is already turning in excellent numbers again in 2019.
He's the club's second top tackler with 118 hits, only behind Jack Hughes. And there's a typical impact as usual from dummy half. Clark's run 31 times from the ruck, the third most of any player in the competition.
As ever, those darts bring big metres. 355m so far, but at 9.10m a carry, the second best in a Warrington shirt. There's also two tries so far this season, including one against Catalans. Castleford will have to shut him down early on.
Whisper it quietly, but is Paul McShane finally getting some of the plaudits he deserves? Consistently one of Super League's under-rated performers, plenty have highlighted his influence at the start of 2019.
With Luke Gale absent, McShane is delivering as an extra playmaker from hooker. He's got five try assists so far, the most in the Castleford side and three more than both the half-backs, Jake Trueman and Jordan Rankin. McShane is the all-round package. He can tackle - his 131 hits the second most in the team.
He kicks goals - 12 so far. And he carries a threat from dummy half - 229 metres at an average of 7.16m a drive and 22 runs from dummy half. There's an embarrassment of riches at international level in the hooking position, but McShane has a chance to lay down a marker on Thursday night against Clark.
Chris Hill vs Liam Watts
OK, hands up. Who had Chris Hill down for a potential assist of the season contender before the campaign began? Warrington might have lost to Catalans, but the prop reminded everyone just what a brilliant all-round player he is.
Hill burst through the line before flicking one out of the back door for Dec Patton to cross. Some pass. Hill is better known for his relentless carrying and defensive work. But that's all still evident in his game in 2019 as well. He's the club's top metre maker so far - 5.35m from his 66 carries.
And that's at an average of an impressive 8.11m a drive. Hill is also up to over 100 tackles for the season, with just four missed, the fewest of any Wolves player over 100. A true model of consistency.
Another of Castleford's early season stars has been the front-rower Liam Watts. He enjoyed the benefits of a full pre-season with Daryl Powell's side, having joined during the 2018 campaign. And the prop is currently top of the Albert Goldthorpe rankings after four rounds. It's easy to see why.
He's the club's top tackler so far with 132 hits and he's been racking up the metres too. Watts has 525 metres to show for his 60 carries. And that's at an average of 8.75m a drive, the second best of any Castleford forward. Watts has a strong offloading game as well, 11 so far, five more than any other team-mate.
Will he keep producing the goods?