Kevin Sinfield, the Leeds captain, is warning his side to prepare for a dangerously wounded Wigan team when they bring down the curtain on the opening day of the Magic Weekend in Newcastle on Saturday.
Wigan, who are going for a hat-trick of Magic wins over the Super League leaders, are smarting from a humiliating 58-16 hammering by Catalan Dragons last Saturday.
“This was always going to be a tough game for us, probably more so now,” Sinfield said. “We’ll make sure we’re ready. It’s a big two points. We’ve lost the last two games in the Magic Weekend against them. It’s an important one for us.”
The recent rout in Perpignan thwarted the Wigan coach Shaun Wane’s publicly stated desire to watch his side leapfrog Leeds into top spot in the table this weekend, and they could find themselves fourth if results go against them in Newcastle.
However, Wane believes the tough test against the Rhinos could be just what his side need to kick-start their title challenge.
“I’m really glad we’re playing the best team in the comp,” he said. “They’re also the form team in the competition so we need to be a lot better. We’ll trouble Leeds but we need to stay with them because they play with a high intensity and they defend with some vigour.”
Before the Roses match, Hull KR will be aiming to maintain their proud Magic Weekend record against their arch-rivals when they meet the Black and Whites in the 225th Hull derby.
Rovers have won five of their six meetings on the road with Hull FC and also defeated them at the KC Stadium at Easter.
The opening day is set for a sombre start, with a minute’s silence to be held ahead of Salford’s game against Widnes as a mark of respect for the late father of the Red Devils’ Griffin brothers. Darrell, Josh and George Griffin are all set to play together for the first time, four days after Martin Griffin died of a heart attack at the age of 58.Reuse content