The Saturday matches in the Super League that are not Catalans Dragons home matches can often be low key affairs but that won’t be the case this week when the Warrington Wolves host Hull KR at the Halliwell Jones Stadium.
That is because one of the marquee players to have played in Super League will make his debut when Greg Inglis takes to the field in a Wolves shirt. There is no TV coverage of the encounter but it can be viewed via the Our League service.
When the Warrington Wolves were tamed by the Castleford Tigers in the opening week of the season, it looked like this could be one of those damp squib campaigns. I say that because it had already been announced that this is to be the last season at the club for Steve Price and sometimes when those early announcements are made a season can just meander without meaning. To their credit though that hasn’t been the case.
They are unbeaten since then and while the win over Leigh Centurions is nothing to write home about, a draw with Hull FC and last week’s win in France certainly catch the eye and there are signs that a talented squad is beginning to fire up. They will no doubt be inspired by Greg Inglis when he is on the field and he could bring further star quality to a squad which showed all their ability last week. They now need to add that other ingredient to their play – consistency.
I think going into the season most judges expected Hull KR to be stronger than in previous seasons after some decent recruitment and plenty of time to prepare and get up to speed under Tony Smith. It didn’t look like that would be the case in the first couple of matches where they were edged out by Catalans Dragons and then walloped by St Helens but that epic Challenge Cup match came at the right time and since then they have wins over Huddersfield Giants and Leeds Rhinos.
You could argue that with the injuries those two sides have those wins don’t add up to much but it isn’t so much the wins that have caught the eye, but more the comprehensive and convincing performances they have put into both matches. There was some excellent defensive play against the Rhinos which has let them down at times recently. If they can keep their heads, show a clinical edge and continue to muscle up on defence they should have that much better campaign that everyone predicted for them.
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As elided to above the big team news for the Warrington Wolves is the fact that Greg Inglis will make his debut for the club here. We don’t yet know though whether that debut will come from the start or off the bench. Ll eyes will also be on the team sheet to see if Blake Austin has a place on it after he was left out last week.
Hull KR welcome three big players back into their squad for this match with Ben Crooks and Greg Minikin back available for selection, as is Korbin Sims. Tony Smith will however be without Albert Vete for his return to his old club.
While the Warrington Wolves’ win was impressive last week, I’d like to a couple more strong performances from them before I fully trust them. As it is I expect them to win this match but they are being asked to cover 14 points in it and that might be a different proposition entirely against a Hull KR side who are beginning to show a competitiveness as well as an improvement at both ends of the pitch in recent weeks.
The Hull KR players who they have a couple of weeks off game wise after this so they can battle away and give their all and if they can ruin the Wolves’ party when they introduction their new big name signing to the competition that would suit them just fine. I think Warrington will have enough to get the job done here but I’m not convinced they will run away with the match. Hull KR have genuine threats in the back line with Kane Linnett one of the players of the season so far. If their forwards can get them in good positions they’ll score enough points to remain within 14 of their hosts here.
Back Hull KR (+14) to beat Warrington Wolves for a 3/10 stake at 1.83 with Coral