Hock keen not to blow his lines on return
Wigan v Huddersfield | Saturday 17:45 - live on Sky Sports
Gareth Hock is set to return for Wigan as they take on fellow Super League high flyers Huddersfield in this eagerly anticipated Big One 3 clash.
As expected the 27 year old Hock has been named in Michael Maguire's 19 man squad and should feature at some point at the DW Stadium. The second rower has been with the Warriors for his entire career but after testing positive for cocaine in June 2009, has missed the last two years through suspension.
He returns to find his beloved Wigan nicely settled in the league table, just a point behind Warrington and the visiting Giants. They also come into this match off the back of a resounding derby victory over St Helens last weekend. The Cherry and Whites were awesome at the Stobart as they dismantled their local rivals, and at one point lead 26-0.
Huddersfield coach Nathan Brown will prepare his team for a tough and bruising encounter in Lancashire and if they can come through it covered in glory then surely it will confirm their title credentials once and for all. If recent history is anything to go by then they stand a great chance. The Giants have won away at Wigan in each of the last three seasons but suffered a home defeat to their cross Pennine rivals in March.
Last Saturday's 28-20 triumph against the Catalans kept the Giants level on points with Warrington but with Wigan breathing down their neck, a win would be priceless.
The match betting for this one sees the hosts installed as the favourites at 2/7. In my opinion Huddersfield are very generously priced at 5/2, the visitors play some excellent rugby at times and Nathan Brown has exceeded expectations this season. They will arrive at the DW without any fear and in a match between two very well matched teams I believe the 5/2 for Huddersfield provides a lot of value.
The team news for both teams is pretty unsurprising. Gareth Hock's inclusion is the only change made by Michael Maguire, replacing Chris Tuson who was given a one-game suspension following an incident in the game against Saints. Nathan Brown has no new injury worries so can name an unchanged squad.
The handicap for this one is set at eight points so Wigan-8 and Huddersfield +8 are both priced at 10/11.
Player wise, for Hock to mark his reappearance with a try you'll find odds of 9/4 for an anytime try and 25s to score the first one. Other Wigan players of interest are Brett Finch and cult hero Pat Richards. Finch (25/1 first try, 2/1 anytime) has crossed the line in both of his last two starts for Wigan while Richards (8/1 first try, 1/2 anytime) has a brilliant six tries in his last five games.
For the visiting Giants the ones to watch are Jermaine McGillvary (11/1 first try, 8/11 anytime) and Leroy Cudjoe (12/1 first try, 10/11 anytime).