Wigan Warriors take on Salford Red Devils for the second time in two weeks with the pair vying for a spot in the Super League grand final. Sport on TV in calendar: How to watch every major event The Red Devils bounced back from their defeat to Wigan with an airtight shut-out victory over Castleford Tigers in the elimination final to earn a second shot at reaching the showpiece game of Super League rugby.
Share via Email The annual World Club Challenge pits the most successful club in the history of the fixture, Wigan, against the equal second-most and equal most successful Australian franchise , the Roosters.
One-time Roosters star Adrian Lam now coaches Wigan and will be out to plot the Roosters' downfall and stretch Wigan's dominance of the fixture to five titles.
The two clubs met just five years ago, with the Bondi club winning the event.
Wigan however won the WCC more recently, downing the Sharks just two years ago. Coach Trent Robinson has confirmed halfback Cooper Cronk is a confirmed starter after recovering from his shoulder injury in the off-season but Angus Crichton is a late scratching.
Aussie clubs struggled mightily in the fixture for decades, winning just four of 16 from its inception through to , but have eight wins and just two losses since.
Key match-up Zak Hardaker v James Tedesco. NRL fans didn't see anything close to the best of Hardaker in his short stint at the Panthers in The Man of Steel would have played more than his current five Tests for England were it not for a chequered history off-field but at his best the year-old fullback has a kit bag replete with silky ball skills and a superb running game.
Campbelltown product Tedesco has been a tackle-busting prodigy since his first-grade debut but the improvement in his ball-playing and especially defensive capabilities in just a year under Robinson have been dramatic.
Each is integral to their side's success. For the Warriors to win Wigan have a bit of an early leg-up due to being at home and not having to travel, plus they are two weeks into the season so will have blown the cobwebs out in a loss to St Helens before last week's big win over Leeds.
Four of their six tries in that game were scored by their impressive forward pack; don't expect the same against the Roosters' notoriously staunch middle defence but Wigan's pack and particularly their three starting back-rowers form an impressive rotation — if they can start fast against a pack that is impressive but low on match fitness they could kick on with it.
Match: Wigan Warriors v Roosters.