Round 27-Friday night previews

Jewitt set for Wigan bow

Ian Millward is hoping to delay the inevitable when his in-form Wigan side take on new Super League title favourites St Helens in front of a bumper crowd at the JJB Stadium on Friday night.

Saints, three points in front of reigning champions Leeds with two games left to play, can clinch the League leaders trophy if they end a five-year wait for an away victory over their derby rivals.

They are fancied to do it but, although Millward fully expects his old team to finish the regular season on top of the table, he has the chance to put their celebrations on hold.

?I think, regardless of what happens here on Friday night, they will win Super League,? he said.

?They will still be minor premiers if they get beat by us.?

St Helens play their final game against another form team, Bradford, next Saturday while the Rhinos go to Warrington on Saturday before ending the regular campaign at home to Wakefield.

?We know that, if we win on Friday, we are the minor premiers, so we?re under no illusions as to how big the game is,? said Saints coach Daniel Anderson, whose only defeat in 14 matches since he succeeded Millward four months ago was in the Challenge Cup semi-final.

?Wigan?s good form of late builds for an interesting Friday night.?

Saints enjoyed a 75-0 win over the Warriors in the Cup in June but they have lost on each of their last 10 visits to the JJB Stadium, including by 22-20 in front of a Super League record crowd of 25,004 in March.

In beating Leeds a week ago, Wigan atoned for their 70-0 humiliation at Headingley and they have the opportunity to redeem themselves for that 13-try rout at the hands of their arch rivals.

?It was left to the players to decide their own motivation for the Leeds game but, to a man, everybody wanted to put straight what happened at Headingley,? admitted Wigan winger Brian Carney, the new Great Britain vice-captain.

?It was important for us to go out and get that result and it?s the same this week.?

Saints would be guaranteed a difficult match even if their opponents had nothing to play for but Wigan still have hopes of pipping London Broncos to the last play-off spot and, with six wins from their last eight games, they have the momentum.

The Warriors are likely to need a favour from Salford, who take on the sixth-placed Broncos at the Willows on Friday night, but Millward is simply grateful that their season is still alive after their ?annus horribilis?.

?All we can do is keep playing well,? he said. ?We?ve had a good run over the last eight games and the guys are enjoying their rugby. They are not only winning but they?re working hard for each other.

?If we win our last two games, we think we?re entitled to be in the play-offs. We want to finish the season with focus and purpose and, if the play-offs are a part of that, it?s a great bonus.

?I didn?t want to go into the last three games with no focus. It?s game on here on Friday night.?

Wigan are set to give teenage forward Lee Jewitt his engage Super League baptism in Friday?s derby with St Helens at the JJB Stadium.

The Warriors, down to just 17 fit players, have put the 18-year-old Jewitt on stand-by in case prop forward Bryn Hargreaves fails to recover from a leg injury.

?It would be pretty daunting for him but he?s a kid who doesn?t lack confidence,? said Millward. ?His last two performances for the academy have been good.

?We?re basically running on a squad of 17 at the moment and Bryn is probably 50-50 after picking up a leg injury in the last two minutes against Leeds.?

Wigan, who have eight players ruled out for the rest of the season, also have a doubt over acting captain Terry Newton, who also sustained a leg injury in last week?s 24-22 win over Leeds, while back-up hooker Wayne Godwin is still a week away from making his comeback from knee surgery.

Saints are still without New Zealand Test back row forward Vinnie Anderson (leg) but Jon Wilkin returns after missing last Sunday?s 78-4 win at Leigh.

Wigan Warriors v St Helens, JJB Stadium, Friday September 9 2005

Wigan 18-man squad: Dallas, Aspinwall, Vaealiki, Carney, Orr, Moran, Guisset, Newton, Tickle, Brown, Sculthorpe, Wild, Hansen, Allen, Beswick, Coyle, Tomkins, Jewitt.

St Helens 18-man squad: Wellens, Albert, Lyon, Talau, Gardner, Hooper, Long, Fozzard, Cunningham, P. Anderson, Gilmour, Bennett, Roby, Higham, Graham, Fa?asavalu, Hardman, Wilkin.

Referee: I Smith

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Reds and Broncos announce squads

London Broncos? latest signing Karl Temata has been included in coach Tony Rea?s squad for Friday?s engage Super League match against Salford at The Willows.

The 27-year-old prop or second-rower, who recently played his 50th game for the New Zealand Warriors, has joined the play-off seeking Broncos for the rest of the season and has agreed a two-year deal with the team soon to be known as Harlequins RL.

?I?ve heard a lot of good things about London and the club and it?s a great opportunity for me,? he said.

?I know there are some exciting plans in place and I want to play an important role.?

Rea said: ?He?s still got his best football ahead of him. This is a great opportunity for him and he?ll be a valuable addition to the squad in the weeks ahead. He?s strong and a very good athlete.?

Salford City Reds v London Broncos, The Willows, Friday September 9 2005

Salford 18-man squad: Hodgson, Rutgerson, Littler, McAvoy, Fitzpatrick, Robinson, Alker, Langi, Coley, Stewart, Charles, Brocklehurst, Haggerty, Baldwin, Highton, Sibbit, Clough, Beverley.

London 18-man squad: Armour, Ablett, Bradley-Qalilawa, Dorn, Haumono, Highton, Hopkins, Kirke, Lolohea, Lucky Luisi, Mbu, Mateo, Smith, Stephenson, Sykes, Temata, Tookey, Wells.

Referee: J King

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