Widnes vs Catalans - Super League Round 1 Preview

Widnes are set to take on arguably the most improved side coming into 2018, the Catalan ranks are now rich with experience and talent.

The Dragons had their worst ever season in their Super League history, only staying up after a win against Leigh in the Million Pound Game. Interestingly Widnes claimed 5 out of the available 6 points, in the 3 meetings between these two clubs in 2017, the highest scoring game only having 32 points scored between the two teams.

Widnes - 1. Rhys Hanbury 2. Stefan Marsh 3. Krisnan Inu 4. Charly Runciman 5. Patrick Ah Van 6. Joe Mellor 7. Tom Gilmore 9. Lloyd White 11. Chris Houston 12. Matt Whitely 13. Hep Cahill 14. Chris Dean 16. Tom Olbison 17. Sam Wilde 19. Greg Burke 24. Ed Chamberlain 25. Jay Chapelow 33. Aaron Heremaia 36. Wellington Albert

Catalans - 1. David Mead 2. Jodie Broughton 3. Iain Thornley 4. Brayden Williame 6. Samisoni Langi 7. Luke Walsh 8. Remi Casty 9. Paul Aiton 10. Sam Moa 12. Benjamin Garcia 14. Julian Bousquet 15. Mickael Simon 16. Vincent Duport 17. Jason Baitieri 19. Michael Mcilorum 20. Lewis Tierney 21. Benjamin Jullien 22. Lucas Albert 23. Antoni Maria

Catalans have so much pace in their squad, I'd expect to see them trying to create space on the fringes for speedster Lewis Tierney and former Super League sprint champion Jodie Broughton, the Vikings need to make sure that they don't give them an opportunity to find the outside of their man. The Dragons also have tremendous strength down the middle, however an up the middle arm wrestle is what has limited Catalans scoring points historically.

Widnes are going to try and use the big frame of Krisnan Inu as a battering ram out-wide, trying to pull the winger in and create an overlap. I'd also expect to see plenty of 1 up rugby in the middle of the park, Widnes are a team that favour the battle up the middle, the worry for the Vikings is that Catalans could limit their metres made and then it becomes a real struggle to get out of their own half.

Even though the Dragons have failed to beat the Vikings in their last 4 attempts, I have to go with what I see in front of me now, and what I see now is a much improved Catalans side. I'm going to give this fixture to the Dragons by a margin of 8 - 18 points.



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