Fan Panel: Our experts on the terraces have their say on Saturday’s fixtures

Catalans v Warrington
Catalans fan – Chris Evans

After the worst possible start to the season, the Dragons finally won a game last week, crawling over the line with a narrow victory of newly promoted Hull KR.

A victory, whatever the scoreline, is still a victory and was a much needed boost to the low on confidence Dragons. The real test comes this Saturday. Was the Hull KR win a fluke, or is it the start of a revival and climb up the table?

If confidence was boosted with the victory last week, it must have taken a further hike with the news that top try scorer Ryan Atkins would miss the game through injury. Despite the pre-season promise, Warrington have hardly set the world alight this year and the Dragons must see this as a winnable game. Warrington have struggled to defend against high tempo attacking teams this year, so Catalan should look to throw the ball around and hit the line with pace and intensity.

Like Catalan, Warrington have been the victim of poor discipline this season, giving away even more penalties than the hosts. If Catalan continue to cut out the errors, and marshal Stefan Ratchford carefully, then they should be able to restrict Warrington in attack. The Warrington defence has been leaking points this season, and as the familiarity of the new players increases, I expect to see more joined up play and several tries from the likes of Mead, Yaha and Tierney.

This time last week, most fans were talking of an almost certain bottom place finish. This week, we are looking ahead at a real possibility of being within touching distance of the top 8.

Score prediction – Catalan 18-12 Warrington

Warrington fan – Peter Thomas

Any signs of hope that Warrington had demonstrated in the games against Wigan and Widnes have long since been forgotten following the poor performances against Hull and more recently St Helens.
More worrying than the losses themselves has to be the lack of progress within Price’s regime. The talk about discipline and penalties may make great sound bites, but they are meaningless once the players cross the white line to take to the field. There are no excuses I can think of as to why Warrington are the highest penalised team in super league, except maybe a team guilty of trying too hard, but at the moment it seems like this will be our only table topping that takes place this season.

Wire are struggling to score, are too predictable in their kicking game and cannot seem to convert pressure into points. Every set has seemingly ended in an anticipated high bomb, with the duly grateful fullback waiting for the same. Fans are already asking for more invention, alternatives or variety

So, guilty of helping their opponents through foul play, Wire have had to defend their line too much, and even though the defence is much improved, and it is, this level of pressure will inevitably lead to points as the visiting Saints proved so easily.
This weekend is the annual jolly to the South of France, and already it must be earmarked as a critical game. Win and Warrington move to 3 wins from seven (much improved on last season’s start), lose and well, 2 wins from 7 chances is not good enough. The season is moving along quickly, and the Wire are risking destroying theirs before it even gets going.
Catalan too are struggling, which Wire must welcome, and they got their first win just last week. They look toothless, and ill-disciplined too and are clearly there for the taking. It is for Warrington to seize this opportunity and make the most of it, and I firmly believe they will.

For me Warrington win by at least ten points. I also suggest ten is the number of games after which I will no longer be able to accept that the team needs time, pre-season and 10 rounds should be enough to enact change. It may not be Warrington’s year in 2018, but the fans deserve more than they are seeing. Perhaps the team really are trying too hard, and I certainly don’t question the efforts or commitment, only the execution. At some point it will click and a team will be steamrolled. This Saturday is my prediction for that day.
Wakefield v Widnes

Wakefield fan – Callum Wood

After Trinity’s first defeat of the season, it was certainly a big slap in the face and a tough one to take, some fans may think

Trinity will find it difficult to bounce back, but having the chance to go 5 wins from 6 games at the end of this week isn’t a stat you cannot complain about.

You could say there was a bit of controversy at Sunday’s game which may of decided how the game went, but I feel Wigan were just to good at the closing stages of the game.

We may be going into Saturday with a loss behind us but I am certain we will be the favourites and I feel we still deserve to go into this game as the favourite team to win. Although, Widnes are a team this season who seem to surprise the opponent both in victory and defeat meaning anything could happen on Saturday.

Ben Jones-Bishop is certainly an exciting player to watch now he knows where the try line is, Bishop will certainly worry the Widnes edges and they will already understand what he can do once he gets the ball in his hands.

The main thing to watch is how Wakefield play and react after losing there first game of the season and to watch if their morale and confidence has been knocked back, but as time has passed Trinity will have almost forgot about Sundays defeat.

Saturday’s match will certainly be a good game to watch and feel Wakefield will want to get back to winning ways and keep their strong position in the Super League table.

Prediction: Wakefield 28-20 Widnes

Widnes fan – Martin Birrell

I am fearing this weekend! We looked a shadow of the team that started the season last week when we capitulated against Huddersfield. Wakefield have started the season just as they ended the last one and a massive amount of credit must go to Chris Chester and the board for building a squad on a similar budget to ourselves. They play an exciting, expansive game of rugby and score plenty of points.

For Widnes the squad is starting to look thin again. Lloyd White has yet to return after picking up an injury against Catalans in round one and we only have two fit props for the game on Saturday. Young Danny Walker’s absence is a puzzling one as he brings genuine dynamism to role, something Aaron Heremaia is no longer able to do. I fear that Denis Betts is targeting the game against Salford on Thursday and is using this opportunity to not risk some players. We also without Wellington Albert for the next two games having last two minutes last week against the Giants.

Wakefield should win this one and I’m going for them to cover the twelve point handicap.

Prediction – Wakefield 34-10 Widnes