Wigan Aim For Top Spot As Vikings Cling On To Super 8’s
Despite having a points difference of just plus four Wigan are still in with a genuine chance of topping the table going into the Super 8s. Victory at the Select Security Stadium against Widnes Vikings on Thursday (June 16) would see Shaun Wane’s side move level on points with current leaders Hull FC ahead of their Sunday trip to Castleford Tigers (June 19). All of which seems pretty remarkable for a side that has scored fewer tries than all except Wakefield and Leeds in 2016, and which ranks dead last in clean breaks and only eighth in offloads.
The Warriors are currently third, just two points behind the black and whites thanks largely to the fact that they still have the fourth best defence in the league behind only Lee Radford’s side, Warrington and Catalans Dragons. They are methodical and make a habit of winning the tight games. Friday’s 20-18 success over Hull KR (June 10) was their fourth league win in a row and the third in succession by a margin of less than 10 points. Equally tight wins over Hull FC and Salford Red Devils earlier in the season mark Wane’s side out as a difficult one to beat, a fact that the Vikings are likely to discover first hand this week. The Vikings’ form is fairly awful, having won just three of their last 12 Super League matches. A strong start to the season is now keeping Denis Betts’ side in the top eight with five games to go before the split, but with the threat of Salford winning their appeal against their points deduction and with Hull KR still in there fighting also, the Vikings still need a couple of wins to be sure of their place in the Super 8s. It’s difficult to see this fixture providing one of the wins they need.
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