2018 Super League – Widnes Vikings vs Catalans Dragons Preview

AT A GLANCE

When? Sunday 4th February, 15:00

Where? Select Security Stadium

What channel is it on? Widnes Vikings v Catalans Dragons will not be televised live

Are tickets still available? Tickets can be bought on the day of the game at cash turnstiles

Where can I stream the match? N/A

THE LOWDOWN

WIDNES VIKINGS

Head Coach: Denis Betts

Squad: Ah Van, Albert, Burke, Cahill, Chamberlain, J. Chapelhow, Dean, Gilmore, Hanbury, Heremaia, Houston, Inu, Marsh, Mellor, Olbison, Runciman, White, Whitley, Wilde

Unavailable:

  • Widnes begin their 2017 campaign with a home game against Catalans, the side they beat in last season’s Middle 8s to retain their Super League status. Widnes ended the regular season in bottom place but managed to avoid the Million Pound game after beating Catalans to finish above their French counterparts.
  • Head coach Denis Betts has no injury concerns heading into the first game of the season with new signings Wellington Albert and Krisnan Inu set to make their club debuts.
  • Widnes have had a disruptive off-season with the club having to cope with the loss of new signing Kato Ottio after the Papua New Guinea man sadly passed away suddenly before arriving in the country.

CATALANS DRAGONS

Head Coach: Steve McNamara

Squad: Aiton, Albert, Baitieri, Bousquet, Broughton, Casty, Duport, Garcia, Jullien, Langi, Maria, McIllorum, Mead, Moa, Simon, Thornley, Tierney, Walsh, Wiliame

Unavailable: Greg Bird, Louis Anderson, Thibaud Margalet

  • Catalans Dragons were one of last season’s biggest disappointments with the French outfit only retaining their Super League status thanks to defeating Leigh Centurions in the Million Pound game.
  • Head coach Steve McNamara will be hoping his new signings can provide a boost to his side in his first full season in charge. Lewis Tierney, Benjamin Jullien, David Mead, Michael McIllorum and Samisoni Langi have all joined the club and could play here but Greg Bird misses out through injury.
  • The Dragons tend to get off to a quick start when facing Widnes, having scored the first try in nine of the last 11 meetings between the two teams in all competitions.

KEY STATS

  • Widnes Vikings have won 3 and drawn 1 of the last 5 meetings between the two sides in all competitions
  • There has been a total of 183 points scored in the last 6 meetings between the two sides in all competitions at an average of 30.5 per game
  • There has been a total of 31 tries scored in the last 6 meetings between the two sides in all competitions at an average of 5.2 per game
  • Catalans Dragons have scored the first try in 9 of the last 11 meetings between the two sides in all competitions

THE PREDICTION

The opening weekend of Super League XXIII ends with a fixture between two sides that will be hoping to avoid dropping into the Middle 8s for a second successive season. Widnes once again are one of the favourites to finish bottom and will need a drastic improvement to avoid the same fate as last season. Catalans can boast several new signings with David Mead the most eye-catching and he could be the key man to lead his side to victory on his debut.