Super League XXIII Round 3 Tips: Castleford Tigers to reign supreme again
Phil Spink offers his thoughts for the televised Super League Round 3 games on Friday and Saturday..
"It remains to be seen what effect the Australian trip has on Hull as the game goes on, but factoring in the injuries to some of their key players even before that, they look set for a difficult afternoon."
Warrington Wolves vs Wigan Warriors
Friday, 19:45 GMT
Live on Sky Sports Arena
It was normal service resumed in the battle between the Super League and NFL sides last week with the Australians seeing off Leeds, Hull and Wigan for a clean sweep on home soil. Wigan will have returned home pleased however, having beaten Hull 24-10 in Round 2 at Wollongong prior to their exhibition match defeat to South Sydney Rabbitohs that saw twenty-six different players get game time in the red and white.
It's a quick turnaround for the Warriors, who are back out just six days after that contest, but Shaun Wane clearly had one eye on this clash and his planning can pay off with a win in the battle between the 2016 Grand Finalists.
Warrington have made an underwhelming start to the campaign, losing to Leeds and Huddersfield before opening their account with a hard-fought success at Widnes last week, a match that could easily have gone against them had the home side's execution been better in the second half. Marquee signing Tyrone Roberts is set to return and will be hoping for a bigger performance after a low-key debut in the Leeds game.
Wigan, who have a good recent record at the Halliwell Jones, look set to be pretty much at full strength and providing they aren't feeling the effects of their travels they should have too much firepower. Back them to make it three wins from three in Super League.
Back Wigan Warriors to win at 11/10
Castleford Tigers vs Hull FC
Saturday, 15:15 GMT
Live on Sky Sports Arena and Sky Sports Main Event
Castleford have had a week off since their narrow win over Widnes and should come out all guns blazing in the first of Saturday's televised games.
The Tigers were made to battle right to the very end against a determined Widnes side a fortnight ago, but went someway to banishing the memory of their opening-day mauling by St Helens and can kick on now, this second home game having fallen nicely for them.
Hull were impressive 48-16 winners on their last visit to Castleford in the final round of the 2017 Super 8s, but were one of only two sides to come away with anything from The Jungle last year with the Tigers having gone unbeaten at home in the regular season. Last season's leading try scorer Greg Eden could be back in action for Castleford, while Joe Wardle is in line to make his Tigers debut and will reportedly take up a back-rower position.
Hull, who won their first match impressively against Huddersfield, arrived home empty-handed from their visit Down Under, but the losses of captain Danny Houghton, the top tackler in the league last season, vice-captain Scott Taylor, and Mark Minichiello during the last fortnight will have hurt more. Like Wigan, it remains to be seen what effect the Australian trip has on them as the game goes on, but factoring in the injuries to some of their key players even before that, they look set for a difficult afternoon.
Back Castleford Tigers -6 - 10/11
Catalans Dragons vs Wakefield Trinity
Saturday, 17:00 GMT
Live on Sky Sports Arena
Catalans coach Steve McNamara was scathing in his appraisal of his side's 23-4 defeat at Hull KR last week and could be set for another miserable evening in Perpignan as the unbeaten Wakefield Trinity come to town.
Having put in a commendable effort against the visiting St Helens the week before it was a particularly disappointing display from the French side in East Yorkshire, an error-strewn first half ending with them conceding two tries in four minutes just before the interval that put the game out of reach. Hooker Paul Aiton misses out here, though the returning Michael McIlorum is likely to step in, while the reappearance of full-back Tony Gigot in the squad is a big boost for the French side.
Wakefield had a rare off night from Gareth O'Brien and his kicking to thank for their narrow home win over Salford a fortnight ago but had previously impressed in the opening round with a Tom Johnstone-inspired 28-6 victory at Hull KR. They will keep on improving and have made successful raids to the South of France in each of the last two seasons. Back them to come home with the spoils again.
Back Wakefield Trinity -2 - 10/11