Warriors and Dragons prepare for battle
Catalan Dragons will put the only 100% Stobart Super League record on the line when they take on Wigan Warriors at the DW Stadium tomorrow.
Fresh from their thrilling, last-gasp win at St Helens, Trent Robinson’s men will return to the north-west brimming with confidence.
The French outfit completed the double over Wigan in the regular season in 2011 but crashed to a 44-0 defeat in the play-offs and Warriors coach Shaun Wane has made it clear which match he prefers to dwell on.
“Last year the Catalans came across and beat Warrington and then beat us which was a sickener,” Wane said. “We didn’t turn up that day.
“We did beat them in the play-offs and I have been showing clips of that game where we ripped in defensively. We need to make sure we do that again.”
The Dragons are still the talk of Super League courtesy of the amazing handling move which produced their nailbiting win over St Helens and are further boosted by the return of former Warrington Wolves hard man Louis Anderson.
St Helens will be aiming to bounce back from their heart-breaking loss when they visit Huddersfield Giants.
Royce Simmons’ men have conceded 70 points in their last two matches and the coach admits their suspect defence is a source of concern.
“We know our defence hasn’t been good and we have got to fix that up,” Simmons said. “We face another really good team this Sunday too. We can go out and play the best football we can and still get beaten.”
Huddersfield, who gained a 40-18 victory in the corresponding match in 2011, have lost just one of their opening four games but coach Nathan Brown believes their best is yet to come.
“We are looking to improve on some areas that are important to us which weren’t as good as they could have been against London (Broncos),” he said. “If we improve our efforts in those areas, I am certain our game will improve.
“We are really excited about the game on Sunday. We had a win and a loss against them last year and I feel that we can do a good job against them this year.”
Wakefield Trinity Wildcats coach Richard Agar insists there will be no emotion attached to his return to the KC Stadium for the first time since he was shown the door by his old club Hull FC at the end of last season.
“It’s really not about me,” he said. “It’s about what happens on the field in 80 minutes.
“I had seven years there and loved every minute of it. I worked my hardest and left on really good terms with some really close friends there.
“It was very easy for me to move on. The fact that the place has had a big overhaul and all the people I worked alongside have gone, made it that bit easier as well.
“I haven’t looked back a single moment. My focus and my enjoyment has been working in this club and trying to build something and I’m thoroughly enjoying it.”
Hull are boosted by the availability of props Sam Moa, who has completed a one-match ban, and ex-Wigan man Eamon O’Carroll, who will make his debut after recovering from a back injury picked up in pre-season training.
“Sam and Eamon have been jumping to get back into the team and having them back in contention is a huge bonus for us,” said Hull coach Peter Gentle.
Tomorrow’s other game is a first Super League meeting between Hull KR and Widnes Vikings at Craven Park.
Their last encounter was in the 2006 National League One Grand Final at Warrington, which Rovers won 29-16 to clinch promotion to Super League and they will be firm favourites to triumph tomorrow.
The Vikings have yet to register a victory on their return to the top flight and have conceded 180 points in their opening four matches.
“We definitely won’t be taking Widnes lightly this weekend as they have some very good individual players and are a big side,” said Rovers coach Craig Sandercock.
“Ben Cross is massive and they have some quality strike players too, so if we don’t play to our best on Sunday then we won’t get the win.”