I have bad news for you Hull fans – I’m tipping you to win the Challenge Cup on Saturday!
I know that will make you roll your eyes in despair, given my track record, but I simply don’t buy into the fact that Wigan are favourites for Wembley. I’m amazed at that.
The Warriors have recovered from a mostly terrible season and now have a chance of making the top four. They’ve put together some good wins recently, culminating in a 42-6 win over Salford on Friday.
But I believe that this game will be won in the forwards, and Wigan’s pack simply doesn’t intimidate any more. Hull have a clear advantage when you look at the two sets of props and the presence of Gareth Ellis improves the Black and Whites even more.
That will then give Marc Sneyd the room for his kicking game and it will give a platform for Albert Kelly to weave his magic.
Hull have a clear advantage over Wigan in the halves, even without their forwards laying a decent platform. George Williams has looked hit and miss recently and Thomas Leuluai doesn’t worry anybody.
If Wigan are to prove me wrong, they must try and run Hull off the park. They need to shift the ball early in the tackle count to rattle Hull’s defensive structures – in the way Hull have done to Castleford this season. But I can’t see Wigan doing that. Expansive football just doesn’t come naturally to them.
Shaun Wane will need to have something up his sleeve, but it’s hard to see what. I can’t see them putting in a typical Wigan performance and winning the Cup.
There’s not much between the sides in the Super League table, but Hull’s big-game performances this season – beating Castleford and Leeds en route to Wembley – have been far better than Wigan’s.
Sam Tomkins is getting back to something like his best, but he’ll need to have the game of his life if the Warriors are to win. He’s dangerous 30 to 40 metres out, but on the other hand, Hull will see him as a potential weak link and test him. And is he playing much better than Jamie Shaul? There isn’t much in it.
I think it will be quite a low-scoring game, although better than 2013 I hope, and I think Hull will win by around seven points.