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Play Off Match Preview: Catalan (H) - 14th September 2012 at DW Stadium.
Posted by cherryandwhite on September 13 2012 - 13:06

Wigan (1st) v Catalan (4th) - Stobart Super League XVII Play Off Qualifier.
Friday 14th September 2012
. Kick Off 8:00pm at DW Stadium.

Match Preview

Well over a month has past since I last got to write a match preview. If you wasn't aware, my laptop broke and was away for repair for the best part of a month, so I couldn't really do anything. But to be honest, even though my laptop is back, it is for me to decide in the coming weeks whether I want to continue to do all this next season.

I've done this for 11 seasons now. I started it as a 19 year old and I'm coming up to hitting 30 soon. A lot of history has passed under the bridge during all that time, but their has been little financial reward for doing all this and I'm the kind of person that wouldn't want to do anything half-hearted. So whilst not saying this season will be it, I've certainly got a lot of thinking to do over the next few weeks. The off season often refreshes the energy, so only time will tell.

Since I last wrote, which was a previewing for the Hull FC match in early August, Wigan have lost to both Warrington and St Helens and have left big question marks over whether we can convert our 1st place into a grand final triumph.

First thing I'd like to say is that I think the regular season has been truly dire. Wigan last week lifted what I am now calling the "pre season shield" but, although we fully deserved it, it's been quite a boring thing to achieve.

In terms of memorable matches during this regular season.......I'm struggling. Yes beating Saints 42-16 at Manchester City and Leeds 50-8 away were happy nights, but they were walk overs. Personally I don't take long term pleasure in uncompetitive walk over wins and sadly their are far, far, far, far, far too many of these in the game at the moment.

Take Huddersfield for example. They've been garbage since May, yet are one of the contenders for the title. It's a joke. Prior to beating Leeds last week, they'd won 3 of 14 in Super League I think I worked out. That should not be a play off contender.

As for the play offs. Well I think the top 8 system is universally condemned but it is what it is. Whilst Wigan finished 1st, I think Warrington have to start favourites for the fact they beat us both home and away this regular season.

Wigan's hopes hinge on this one game for me. If we fail again at home to Catalan then for me we are a busted flush. We need to learn from the fact that we've lost at this stage on both occasions in the last two years at home. A low crowd and zero away fans will not help the atmosphere, so it is going to be a tough night. It's a big one for Catalan as well. Win this and they get a week off before a home semi final. That'd be huge for them. So although both have a second chance, I think Grand Final chances for both Wigan and Catalan come down to this one game!

Warrington play St Helens and, to be honest, I saw little last week to suggest Saints will be a big threat. Ok, they beat us but they really struggled against our 12 men and the tries they claimed were hardly ones that showed a ton of class. Saints might upset the apple cart once but I'm unconvinced they could do it the two or three times required to win a Grand Final.

Leeds, I don't think they will repeat the 5th place success of last year. Last season they got lucky in that in week 2 they travelled to Huddersfield, who were out of form and had been beaten 47-0 at Warrington the week before. That match offered them a game against a team that had no real big game calibre and it was quite a fortunate draw I think for them, considering the league position they had achieved. It was a sad reality of the play off system that 5th place, perhaps by luck than judgement, has rewarded them with quite a comfortable passage to the semi final stage.

This year though the Rhinos are guaranteed, if they get past Wakefield, to have to travel to either Warrington, St Helens or to France to play Catalan in Week 2. All three of those options are a totally different kettle of fish compared to a trip to Huddersfield. They are bound to provide a more physically and mentally challenging test. Then that's before an away semi final. Also teams will be wary and ready for them after what they did last year, so I can't see it happening again. To be honest, I would not be surprised if Wakefield upset them on Friday. I wouldn't predict it, I expect a comfortable Leeds win, but I wouldn't be surprised at all.

The last match sees Hull take on Huddersfield. I expect a comfortable Hull win because they are strong at KC Stadium and the visitors have been poor for ages. Wouldn't expect Hull to do too much beyond that because away from home they struggle.

Back to our match and I don't really know what to expect. I do think the suspension of Mike McIlorum is a blessing because I feel he has been poor for weeks. A stupid red card v Bradford, struggled against Warrington, was conceding penalties for fun at Hull KR and last week spoke for itself. Not good enough in my view his performances recently. I'm far happier with Tommy at seven and Matty Smith at nine, or vice versa.

It's all about Wigan's attitude though. We need to click now. No more of this plodding around we've seen for weeks. Now is the time to step up and be counted. Do it and the season is alive. Lose it, well we will have a second chance but the season's hopes will be extinguished for me. Let's see what occurs!

19 Man Squads

IN:l Epalahame Lauaki
OUT:l Mike McIlorum

Sam Tomkins, Josh Charnley, Darrell Goulding, George Carmont, Pat Richards, Brett Finch, Thomas Leuluai, Lee Mossop, Harrison Hansen, Gareth Hock, Sean O'Loughlin, Jeff Lima, Stuart Fielden, Liam Farrell, Epalahame Lauaki, Gil Dudson, Ben Flower, Jack Hughes, Matty Smith.

St Helens
IN:l Lopini Paea
OUT:l Antoni Maria

Clint Greenshields, Damien Blanch, Setaimata Sa, Thomas Bosc, Scott Dureau, David Ferriol, Ian Henderson, Rémi Casty, Steve Menzies, Louis Anderson, Greg Mounis, Sébastien Raguin, Eloi Pelissier, Daryl Millard, Jamal Fakir, Lopini Paea, Jason Baitieri, Vincent Duport, Damien Cardace.

Match Referee

Richard Silverwood (Dewsbury) - Age 36
First Pro Game: York 20 Batley 20 - 28th March 1999
First Super League Game: Halifax 30 Salford 18 - 6th May 2001
First Wigan Game: Wakefield 14 Wigan 30 - 1st May 2002

Wigan's Record when this referee is appointed

Wigan have Won 36, Drawn 2 and Lost 15 from 53 appointments.
This Season: Won 2 and Lost 2 from 4 appointments.

Other Officials

Video Referee:l

Phil Bentham


Tim Roby, Clint Sharrad

In Goal Judges:l

(Not in use for this fixture)

Reserve Referee:l

Thierry Alibert

Time Keeper:l

Dave Campbell

Match Commissioner:l


Final Super League XVII League Positions

  Team P W D L F A Diff Pts
1st Wigan Warriors 27 21 0 6 994 449 +545 42
4th Catalan Dragons 27 18 0 9 812 611 +201 36

Super League Era Head to Head Record including Play Offs

Overall Played 15 Wigan 9 Wins Catalan 6 Wins 1 Draw
At Wigan Played 8 Wigan 6 Wins Catalan 2 Wins 0 Draws
SL Play Offs Played 2 Wigan 2 Wins Catalan 0 Wins 0 Draws
SL PO at Wigan Played 1 Wigan 1 Win Catalan 0 Wins 0 Draws

Previous Super League Play Off Meetings

Date Type Opposition Report
20th Sept 2008 Eliminator Catalan 26 Wigan 50 Click Here
25th Sept 2011 Eliminator Wigan 44 Catalan 00 Click Here

Ticket Details

Stand ConAdultsiors Concessions

Springfield (West) Stand - Gold Section

£23 £17

Springfield (West) Stand - Blue Section

£22 £16

Billy Boston (East) Stand - Silver Section

£21 £15
Billy Boston (East) Stand - Red Section £20 £14
South Stand £19 £13
North Stand (Visitors) CLOSED CLOSED

UK TV Coverage

Live Coverage Friday 7:30pm
Post Match Friday 10:00pm
Free to Air Highlights Sunday 6:15pm

International TV Coverage

Australia LIVE Saturday 5:00am (Sydney) Eurosport HD
UAE (Dubai) LIVE Friday 10:30pm OSN Sports 1 HD
Eqypt LIVE Friday 9:30pm OSN Sports 1 HD
USA Delay Friday 4:00pm (Eastern) Fox Soccer Plus HD
New Zealand Delay Saturday 6:00pm Maori Television -
France Delay Late Friday 0:45am Bein Sport 1 HD
Note: OSN Sports is Available across many countries in Middle East/North Africa.

Radio Commentary

102.4 Wish FM - Build up with the Pre Match "Ger'rum On Side" show from 7pm before Full Match Commentary from 8pm.

BBC Radio Manchester (95.1FM) - On Air from 7pm with Full Match Commentary.

Weather Forecast


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