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OPPOSITION CORNER: Warrington Wolves to tackle two surprise packages over Easter
WOLVES’ next two opponents have made stronger starts to the 2014 campaign than most would have expected.
Both Widnes Vikings and Castleford Tigers have suffered only two losses so far compared to Wolves’ four and occupy positions in the table’s top five.
Vikings have admitted that doing the double over their nearest rivals last year gave the club a lift and helped with their preparations for 2014 in believing they can contend with the best.
Wolves should be wary of coach Denis Betts’ words this week.
He said: “Last year doing the double over Warrington gave the fans a real boost and made them proud of this team again. Those local bragging rights against our neighbours are important to us.”
It adds to the spice that former Wolves Challenge Cup winners are influential in the camp, Jon Clarke as captain of the club and Brett Hodgson on the coaching set-up.
Vikings, who have defeated London Broncos 64-10, Huddersfield Giants 22-20, Salford Red Devils 32-18, Hull 7-0 and Bradford 22-18 this year, come into the game on the back of a 42-20 loss in France against Catalan Dragons.
They have also been srtuggling for numbers in their backs, with Warringtonian Joe Mellor and youngster Tom Gilmour missing from their half-back department, although Kevin Brown has been holding the fort well with some impressive form.
Stefan Marsh and Cameron Phelps have been absent from the three-quarters, and centre Declan Hulme picked up an injury in France.
Danny Tickle was their close-season main signing, and he currently figures among Super League’s top 10 goal kickers.
All teams will reassess their situations going into Monday’s games in part two of the Easter double header.
But Wolves will certainly find Castleford Tigers hot to handle on their home patch.
It took a late try from St Helens winger Adam Swift to earn the table toppers a win at the Mend-A-Hose Jungle at the weekend in a match that Cas had led by 18 points.
They lost the services of England half back Rangi Chase to Salford in pre-season but Mark Sneyd and Liam Finn have been running the show for them on the back of a solid pack.
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