Giants to stand tall
Ian Millward previews the World Club Challenge and weekend action in the First Utility Super League.
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Saturday February 21
Roosters v Wigan (+16)
I look at this game and on paper - across all the key positions - I think the Roosters are stronger but they've not had the same preparation the Wigan lads have enjoyed.
They have got a couple of games under their belts and some of the Roosters players have been saying they're a little underdone but put them in front of the 35,000 crowd on Saturday and the adrenalin would start pumping.
Just look at their side, two strike centres, experienced representative halves in James Maloney and Mitchell Pearce and in Jared Waerea-Hargreaves they have the most aggressive front-rower in the game.
I really fancy the Australian side to win this one - Wigan have lost a lot of strikepower from their ranks in recent years and this is a huge test for them. However with a start of 16 points I'd have to side with the Warriors.
Expect the Roosters to blast out of the blocks and build a lead but, given their preparation, they won't come home that strongly. Wigan can take advantage and close the deficit in the closing quarter and that's why I'm with them given the start.
London (+32) v Salford
The team news is important here and at the time of writing it seems as though Rangi Chase may miss out for Salford. However that will just give Tim Smith the opportunity to take centre stage and he can lead the Red Devils to a big win.
London are some way off from being a competitive Super League team right now and if the weather plays ball and they stay focused, I'd expect Salford to win by more than 32.
Sunday February 22
Huddersfield v Hull KR (+12)
This is a bad game for Hull KR prop Michael Weyman to miss through suspension as Huddersfield have one of the bigger packs in the game. Key men such as Kris Keating are still adjusting to life in Super League and I make the Giants one of my best bets of the weekend.
Rovers are still adjusting to life without Michael Dobson and this very good and settled Huddersfield side have had two weeks to get ready for this game. They looked the real deal in beating Wigan a fortnight ago and can go two from two by covering the handicap.
Castleford (scr) v Catalans (scr)
The Tigers are quickly out the blocks this year and did a good job on Bradford last week. Catalan went down narrowly at Hull but this is a big ask for them, a second away game in successive weeks.
I was disappointed that the Dragons didn't know how to put Hull away last Friday and this game could be made for Castleford. They have the confidence and momentum and for the first time in 12 months, a pack that can lay the foundations for victory in this one.