Wigan Warriors host Leeds Rhinos in Play-Off Semi-Final


It’s a highly anticipated clash at the D.W. Stadium as Wigan Warriors face Rohan Smith’s Leeds Rhinos side on Friday night with a place in the Grand Final at stake.

After Leeds finished fifth in the Super League standings, they earned themselves an away time with French side Catalans Dragons in the eliminator fixture prior to the Semi-Finals.

With the French outfit heading into the game the favourites and the locals creating an incredibly hostile and daunting atmosphere, Leeds will gain a lot of confidence from their victory in Perpignan.

A hat-trick from Liam Sutcliffe was enough to secure a win for the Rhinos who took full advantage of the French outfit’s ill-discipline after they saw Mitchell Pearce sin-binned twice, Michael McIlorum yellow-carded too and Gil Dudson sent off.

As for the Warriors, they will have enjoyed a week’s rest ahead of the big clash on Friday night but it has been argued that teams that win the eliminator fixture can sometimes go into the semi-final with more momentum and Leeds certainly have that in abundance.

After remarkably salvaging their season that looked to be heading south under Richard Agar, Rohan Smith has turned things around completely at Headingley with a brilliant second half of the campaign which saw them claim the play-offs on the final round with a win over Yorkshire rivals Castleford Tigers.

Now, following on from a strong win in the South of France, Leeds will be hoping they once again beat Wigan at the D.W. Stadium to progress to the next stage of the competition. It was only last year when the two sides met in the eliminator fixture and Leeds progressed past Adrian Lam’s Wigan by a score line of 0-8.

Speaking during his press conference, Matt Peet discussed what his side had been doing with the extra week of preparation and what he is expecting going into Friday night.

Peet said:

“We was very individualised last week in terms of some lads needed a bit more rest than others after a real hectic period. Some lads needed attention in terms of skill work or development and some lads are coming back from a period where they haven’t played a great deal of rugby.

“So last week we put the individual stuff first and put some of the team stuff to the side and had some fun together, getting out and doing some activities and then this week has been business as usual.”

With Peet explaining that it’s been back to ‘business as usual’, the team news was released on Wednesday afternoon for the big game at the weekend.

Wigan named a 21-man squad with Cade Cust missing out with an elbow injury and is replaced by Sam Powell who has returned from a foot injury and if selected, will make his 250th appearance for the Warriors.

The squad release also means they’re still without Liam Farrell who picked up a knee injury in the derby game against St Helens who is believed to have a chance of being fit for the World Cup but is out for the rest of the Super League campaign.

As for the visitors, they too were able to name a 21-man squad with the Rhinos boosted by the naming of Bodene Thompson who returns following a rib injury whilst Mikolaj Oledzki is included despite coming off with a shoulder injury last time out.

It’s not all positive for Leeds mind who are still without the likes of Harry Newman, Ash Handley and David Fusitu’a in addition to Morgan Gannon who misses out with a concussion that he picked up in the win over Catalans last Friday.

With the squads announced, the game will be one many of Super League will be keen to watch as two of the form sides go neck and neck for a place in this years Betfred Super League Grand Final which will be held at Old Trafford on September 24.

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