Wolves tamed by classy Wigan
WIGAN can land their third Grand Final win against Warrington at Old Trafford.
The Warriors got the better of the Wolves 12-6 in 2016 and 30-16 three years earlier.
More importantly is the form each team brings into the big match.
The Wolves stunned rugby league by winning their semi-final at St Helens.
That amazing victory means they deserve their place at Old Trafford but is against their current run of form that has seen them lose four of their past 10 outings.
Wigan have won 10 on the spin and nilled a decent Castleford side in their semi.
Warrington also have a pyschological barrier to break through.
It’s a running joke in the sport that they haven’t won the title – in its various forms – since 1955.
While the current crop of Warrington players can’t be blamed for that, it can’t help to keep hearing the stat in the build-up to the big game.
They finished the season in fourth spot and have already blown it once on the big day.
That was when they lost to Catalans Dragons in the Challenge Cup final at Wembley in August.
Coach Steve Price admits it was hard to pick up his troops after that but they must have a chance having beaten the Saints on their own patch.
They will need Tom Linehan at his very best again after his double in the semi-final but even that is not likely to be enough.
Although Wigan are the most decorated side in the game, they will be desperate to win this Grand Final for departing coach Sean Wane along with Sam Tomkins, John Bateman and Ryan Sutton who are all pulling on the cherry and white for the final time.
One of that trio is likely to pick up the Harry Sunderland Trophy for man of the match.
Tomkins is just 4/1 with some firms for the honour, which seems ridiculous and the 7/1 with William Hill and Betfred looks more like it.
But the smart money must be on Bateman who has been a massive influence on the Warriors getting to the final and is heading down under after this.
He is a much fairer 9/1 with Betfair Sportsbook and he should have a big game from his position either at loose forward or in the second row.
Bateman picked up a handful of man-of-thematch awards during the season and there’s a feeling that he was unlucky to miss out on being named Man of Steel to St Helens’ Ben Barba. This gives the press a chance to acknowledge that.
He has a good chance of crossing the whitewash too at some point in the game so the 10/3 with Betfair is worth a look.
For the match bet, Grand Finals are fairly tight and Leeds’ 24-6 win over Castleford last year was the biggest winning margin in a decade.
Wigan aren’t great value at 4/7 to lift the trophy and it may be worth a small interest in Warrington leading at half-time but losing the match.
That’s what happened in 2016 when Wire had their noses in front at the break only to be pegged back.
Because neither side has been dominant through the regular season, it is hard to see this turning into a rout.
So it makes sense to back Wigan to win by 1-12 points at 7/4 with Betfred.
Great Bate: John Bateman can lead Wigan to Grand Final glory on his farewell outing for the Warriors