One of rugby league’s biggest rivalries returns on Thursday as the Warrington Wolves take on fierce rivals Widnes Vikings in Super League.
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Widnes were hammered 76-6 at Catalans Dragons last weekend and they now face a daunting trip to Warrington on Thursday, where another heavy defeat is surely on the cards.
The Cheshire derby returns to the Super League on Thursday but it is unlikely to be much of a battle and damage limitation could be all Widnes have to offer.
Granted, the Vikings secured a memorable win over historical rivals Wigan earlier in the season but the Warriors chose to rest a number of their stars and Warrington will not make the same mistake.
Last season Tony Smith’s side finished top of the standings at the close of the regular season, notching up some huge wins along the way.
As yet, the Wire have not managed to replicate the kinds of displays they were putting on week in, week out in 2011 but they’re still picking up results and will be eager to bounce back from their heavy defeat at the hands of St Helens last time out.
The Vikings will be without key man Shaun Briscoe as well as former Warrington duo Steve Pickersgill and Jon Clarke for the trip to the Halliwell Jones Stadium, which will make their task even harder.
Smith has decided to rest experienced forward pair Adrian Morley and Michael Monaghan for the first league tie with Widnes in seven years, but unlike Wigan counterpart Shaun Wane the Warrington coach has otherwise named his strongest possible squad.
Youngsters Brad Dwyer, Ben Currie and former Vikings loanee Gareth O’Brien are all expected to play a part on Thursday, with Smith keen to keep his side fresh for the trip to Catalan Dragons on Easter Monday.
Warrington are 1/100 with BetFred
to secure the win in the standard 80 minute match betting market, the draw is 50/1 and Widnes are 20/1 to seal an improbable victory.
However, considering Widnes’ injury woes and their heavy defeat in the south of France last time out it may be worth considering Warrington with a -38 handicap, which is priced at 10/11.