Photos by Eddie Whitham
WARRINGTON Wolves have named their squad for their do-or-die play-off clash with Castleford at home on Thursday night.
Last week’s loss at Leeds, coupled with Salford’s win over Hull KR, meant the Wolves finished fourth in the Super League table, leaving them with no room for error in the play-offs.
But they have a fine record under Steve Price in knockout games, having reached all three finals since the Australian arrived at the club, including last month’s victorious Challenge Cup final at Wembley.
Price said: “Time will tell, but in knock out football over the past 18 months we’ve been really solid. We’ve got a wonderful group of players who have played on the big stage for their country and also big finals, so we will need all that experience come Thursday.
“Home advantage is really important. We have a wonderful group of supporters who like getting behind the boys and hopefully we can fill the Halliwell Jones Stadium on Thursday and put in a really strong performance which I know we’re capable of.”
He has made two changes to his 19-man squad for Thursday’s game, with Matty Smith suspended following a dangerous contact on Leeds full-back Jack Walker last Friday.
Harvey Livett and Lama Tasi are drafted in, with prop Sitaleki Akauola dropping out.
The winner of Thursday’s game will play the loser of Friday’s clash between Wigan and Salford in the next round of the play-offs.
Warrington will need to win three successive games if they are to reach Old Trafford and the Super League Grand Final for the fifth time in eight years.
Castleford secured the final play-off spot despite losing at Wigan last weekend, with Hull’s failure to get anything at home to St Helens meaning they missed out on points difference.
The Tigers have also made two changes to their ssquad, with Jacques O’Neill and Will Maher coming in for Jesse Sene-Lefao and Nathan Massey.
Sene-Lefao was sent off last weekend for dropping his knee on Oliver Partington, an incident which was picked up by the Sky Sports TV cameras.
It’s the third successive year that Daryl Powell’s side have reached the end of season play-offs, reaching the Grand Final in 2017, going down to Leeds.
The pair have met in the play-offs before, back in 2014, when Warrington prevailed 30-14 in a preliminary semi-final at The Jungle. Stefan Ratchford, Chris Hill and Ben Currie are the only survivors from the Wolves team that day.
Warrington 19-man squad: Austin, Charnley, D Clark, J Clark, Cooper, Currie, Goodwin, Hill, Hughes, King, Lineham, Livett, Mamo, Murdoch-Masila, Patton, Philbin, Ratchford, Tasi, Westwood.
Castleford 19-man squad: Blair, Clare, Clarkson, Cook, Ellis, Holmes, Maher, Mata’utia, McMeeken, McShane, Millington, Milner, Minikin, O’Neill, Rankin, Smith, Trueman, Turner, Watts