Manchester Magic Weekend – Sunday Preview

By Mark RawlinsonSuper League 2012

After an exciting first day at the Manchester Magic Weekend on Saturday, six more teams will be battling it out on Sunday afternoon at the Etihad Stadium.

The first day’s results went largely as expected, with Castleford Tigers’ 49-24 win over Wakefield Trinity Wildcats the only slight surprise on Saturday.

The big match on Sunday sees reigning Super league champions Leeds Rhinos take on table-toppers Wigan Warriors in the day’s final match at 7:30pm.

Wigan have looked unstoppable of late and are on a 10-game unbeaten streak in all competitions, stretching all the way back to mid-March which has propelled them to the top of the table.

Shaun Wayne’s side come fresh out of the 64-6 demolition of London Broncos last Saturday and are big favourites to win this match, with Bet Victor offering the best odds, albeit very short, of 4/11 for a Warriors win.

But if any side can pull out an upset it’s the Rhinos, who were the last team to beat Wigan way back on March 15th. Brian McDermott’s side come out of a disappointing 22-30 loss to a struggling St. Helens side last Monday but he has elected to keep his 19-man squad unchanged ahead of their Magic Weekend match. Paddy Power are offering the best odds of 13/5 for a Rhinos win on Sunday evening.

The opening match of the day, which kicks-off at 3pm, is a match-up between two struggling sides as eleventh placed Widnes Vikings play bottom-of-the-table Salford City Reds.

Widnes have only won once in their last four Super League games, that victory coming against St. Helens but they have Rhys Hanbury back in their 19-man squad after the half-back signed a new three year contract with the club earlier this week.

Their opponents Salford, who have the shortest trip out of all the sides to the Etihad this weekend, are on an even worse run, having only picked up two points from their last six Super League fixtures.

They will also be without second-row Chris Nero for the game who is ruled out after injuring his neck in last weeks’ 28-7 defeat to the Bradford Bulls.

Ladbrokes are offering the best odds of 6/5 for a Salford win whilst Stan James provide the best odds for a Widnes win at 5/6.

The second game of the day is another West Yorkshire derby as an inform Huddersfield Giants side take on Bradford Bulls.

Paul Anderson’s side sit second in the Super League table and come into the Magic Weekend off the back of a 36-22 victory over Widnes. They are understandably favourites for the match with Stan James offering the best odds of 1/3 for a Huddersfield win.

Seventh-placed Bradford could have winger Jamie Foster back from a five-week injury lay-off after damaging a pectoral muscle in April. Tempting odds of 13/5 are being offered for a Bulls win by Paddy Power.

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