Briscoe back for Vikings
Former Wigan Warriors full-back Shaun Briscoe returns from a three-month absence to face his old club at the DW Stadium tomorrow as Widnes Vikings look to complete an unlikely double over the Stobart Super League leaders.
Briscoe scored two tries in the Vikings’ shock 37-36 win over the Warriors at the Stobart Stadium in March but has since played only twice due to a groin injury.
Stand-off Joe Mellor, who is on loan from Wigan, also returns from suspension to bolster the side that lost 28-24 at London Broncos in their last match a fortnight ago to drop back to the foot of the table.
“Wigan are top of the league and they’re beating the top sides by 50 points,” said Widnes coach Denis Betts, the former Wigan and Great Britain forward.
“We’ve got nothing to lose and we’ll be giving it everything we’ve got. It’s going to be an exciting night.”
Wigan coach Shaun Wane, whose side have won their last 12 matches in both competitions, rested five players for their earlier encounter with Widnes but will be taking no chances this time.
He welcomes back prop Paul Prescott, who has been out for a month with a knee injury, and is likely to move skipper Sean O’Loughlin from loose forward to offset the loss of scrum-half Thomas Leuluai with a broken leg.
“Widnes well deserved their win earlier in the season,” he said. “We weren’t at our best that day.
“The players have already spoke about it. We are keen for revenge from that loss that really hurt us.
“The one thing we have here is a team of mentally tough people and we have spoken about what happened to us that day and we want to fix it up. If we perform well and we are mentally there then we will do okay.
“Widnes are a Super League team who are well coached. Denis Betts is doing his very best with the players he has got and they are a threat. They can play and score tries.”
The Warriors have the chance to strengthen their position at the top of the table but Wane is also looking ahead to next month’s Carnegie Challenge Cup semi-final against Leeds Rhinos and the chance to defend their trophy at Wembley.
“We have three fixtures before the semi-final which is one game I am desperate to win,” he said.
“I don’t want to limp into that game. I want to go into that game in a good frame of mind. At the moment we are playing really well in our attack and in our defence.
“We have had some great results in some important games and we now face some more crucial games in the weeks to come, starting on Monday.”