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Is it cut and dried that Wolves will be playing Saints next weekend?
WILL Wolves’ opponents be Wigan Warriors or St Helens next weekend?
Many are expecting Wigan will choose Leeds Rhinos in the ClubCall process tomorrow, Sunday (12.30pm), which would hand Wolves a trip to Langtree Park to face a Saints side who defeated Tony Smith's side in the opening game of the play-offs campaign last week.
But is it cut and dried?
Will table toppers Wigan be wary of what happened to Warrington Wolves last year?
Wolves selected Leeds in the ClubCall and the Headingley mob used the psychology of being perceived as the ‘easiest team of the two options’ to their advantage, producing one of their performances of the season to book a ticket to the Grand Final and become champions for the fifth time in eight years.
They have a habit of getting things right at the end of the season and their record should strike fear into any ClubCall selectors - especially after last year.
Also, Leeds were clear underdogs when they met Wigan in the Challenge Cup semi finals but again delivered a stunning knockout blow to go on and meet Wolves in the Wembley final.
However, it is hard for teams to back-up with another good performance the weekend after the long journey to France, where Leeds knocked Catalan Dragons out of the competition on Friday.
Compared to Warrington, though, they do have an extra day’s rest than Wolves prior to next weekend and that could come into Wigan’s thinking too.
But it is a tough decision to make.
Wigan have lost their last three home games against Warrington and were convincingly defeated at The Halliwell Jones Stadium the last time the two teams met.
However, Wigan know to their own cost last year how difficult it is to win both the Challenge Cup and Grand Final in the same season, and they might be questionning internally whether Wolves can deliver the goods again next week after a tough battle to overcome Hull.
No team would probably want a mighty ‘derby’ tussle to come through if they are looking to produce their best performance of the season a week later and that could be the point that the decision is made upon.
Wigan might fancy the idea of Wolves and Saints knocking hell out of one another next weekend hoping that they themselves overcome Leeds and go on to face a ‘knocked about’ opponent at Old Trafford.
Wolves boss Tony Smith doesn’t care much for the ClubCall concept.
When asked if he thought Wolves would be playing Saints next weekend, he said: “Who knows?
“We’ve got to wait for this fantastic concept we call ClubCall.
“Once we get that we jump up and down and say we’ve got this team or that team.
“There are four very good teams through to the final stages - and probably not far off a lof of people’s predictions early on in the season.
“Whichever team we get put up against we’ll give them a healthy respect and understand that we’ll need to play well against them because they’re all quality opposition at this stage.”
* Watch this space to find out tomorrow who Wolves will be playing in the last hurdle to Old Trafford.