Another run-in with the ‘beast’ but plenty more in the shape of players hopefully on show this week as the Betfred Super League returns for another ‘full round’ of action.
Find out below who will come out on top as the clubs prepare for the infamous hectic Easter weekend that is fast approaching!
Widnes Vikings Vs Salford Red Devils
First up are two clubs that were heavily written off not too long again as Widnes Vikings entertain Salford Red Devils at the Select Security stadium.
Two teams that were, and still are by many, to be doomed to the Qualifiers, so what better aim to win than to avoid such a fate and prove your doubters incorrect?!
Joe Mellor Vs Robert Lui
First up are the two play makers in Joe Mellor and Robert Lui.
Mellor has produced some top notch performances this season, especially in Widnes’ home wins over Catalan and Leeds.
But Lui has been rather instrumental and produced similar superlatives in Salford’s home wins against both Hull clubs.
Two rather different style of players, Mellor with his kicking game and speed but Lui with his dummying and ability to take on the line; either factor could prove decisive here.
Krisnan Inu Vs Junior Sa’u
Next up are two speedy ‘big guns’ in Krisnan Inu and Junior Sa’u.
Inu has plenty of experience and since departing Catalan, has quickly proved a hit with the Vikings, already scoring five tries this season.
But fellow countryman Sa’u can be just as potent as Inu. Though only scoring two tries, notching up 603 metres with ball in hand compared to Inu’s 527 a clear demonstration.
Two very strong and agile figures, with over a decades’ worth of professional experience, including international representation so clearly a battle to watch out for, especially when either are attacking one or another.
Ted Chapelhow Vs Ben Nakubuwai
Now an interesting choice as two young yet fierce forwards in Ted Chapelhow and Ben Nakubuwai come face-to-face.
Chapelhow began his career back in 2015 with Whitehaven, securing a permanent move to Widnes and this season has seen him thrive in their squad,
But Nakubuwai arrived just this season from the Gold Coast Titans and recently featured in the Rugby League World Cup for Fiji, so he has a point to prove as much as Chapelhow.
Two young players with bright futures ahead of them, starting here perhaps in an all-important clash for their clubs.
A difficult game to call as both sides have had a season of struggle so far and have been heavily written off by most critics.
Widnes, fresh from the abandonment at Wakefield, will be eager for action and may start as favourites due to their reasonably strong home form.
That and what makes them tick is stand-off Joe Mellor. Since Kevin Brown departed, Mellor has filled the shoes in rather well and has helped Widnes become a constant attacking threat.
Though the absence of Tom Gilmore may hinder them, possessing fluent attackers in Rhys Hanbury and Aaron Heremaia can keep them going.
Therefore, Widnes have a full set of pivots and thus have attacking options all over the field.
All of whom can work well with the forwards. Along with Chapelhow, they boast the size of Macgraff Leuluai, Chris Houston, Tom Olbison, Greg Burke and Matt Whitley.
They are able to rotate between positions in the forward pack, having succeeded already this season that has helped the Vikings to their two wins.
That and exciting three-quarters in Krisnan Inu and Stefan Marsh. With eight tries between them, both provide the hosts with further attacking options out wide.
However, it remains uncertain they will get it together but Salford are in a similar boat as they share the same inconsistency as the hosts here.
True, they have recorded two impressive wins over both Hull sides but have failed to develop any kind of rhythm of form this season.
No replacement yet for Gareth O’Brien but credit Robert Lui and Jack Littlejohn, both did well last time out and is easily possible they will repeat such heroics.
Their strong point is their forward pack in Craig Kopczak, Josh Jones, Weller Hauraki and Lama Tasi.
A healthy array of experience between them as well as skill, both in the middle and outside, then of course there’s their squad depth in having the aforementioned Nakubuwai to come in.
Plus let’s not forget Kris Welham, Greg Johnson and Junior Sa’u for added pace and power.
But Salford’s uncertainty, funnily enough, is their future and how they will cope due to off-field issues.
Will it impact them here?
Hence the difficulty to call a winner but based on home advantage, their form and being a more ‘settled’ club, Widnes should edge it.
It will be pretty close as either team have similar players and quality but on maturity and more time on a pretty tough playing field, the Vikings should get the business done and return to winning ways!