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Rupert Wyman 20th Sep 2009 - 8:49

Noble should be at Wigan for at least another week

Brian Noble looks set to leave the Wigan Warriors at the end of this season with a switch to the Celtic Crusaders his rumoured destination. His Wigan side face elimination tonight if they lose to the Castleford Tigers but the Cherry & Whites should be able to at least extend Noble's reign for at least another game.

Wigan enter this play-off match as 2/7 favourites knowing that a win will see them meet Hull KR next week for a place in the final four. Cas are the 5/2 outsiders with the draw at 20/1.

The sides last met three weeks ago at the Jungle when Wigan were narrow 29-26 winners. Wigan have some big name players and they should be able to deliver the goods on the big stage of the play-offs.

A worry would be that Wigan were not very impressive last week when they were thrashed 48-16 by Huddersfield but this was only their second loss in ten Super League matches. If Wigan play to their strengths and keep the ball rather than constantly giving it away then they should have too much for Terry Matterson's side.

You get the impression that Castleford are just pleased to be in the play-offs in just their second season back in the big time of the Super League. Therefore psychologically they may not be quite at it.

The Tigers' defence is not great and Wigan should be able to take advantage of this and top try scorer Pat Richards will fancy his chances of crossing the line first at odds of 10/1. Also of interest is Sam Tomkins at 14/1. The young stand-off missed last week's defeat to the Giants and he was the difference when Wigan beat the Tigers as he scored a hat-trick.

As Cas are likely to leak tries a shrewd bet could be Wigan at 1/2 in the race to ten points market.

The main handicap line gives the home side a ten-point deficit to overcome and both sides are priced at 10/11 with the draw at 14/1. This looks right so it is difficult to call therefore I would be tempted to back Wigan on an alternative handicap of six at 4/7.

Ten years ago Castleford were Wigan's first opponents in the then JJB Stadium and that night they shocked the home faithful with a 14-10 victory in an elimination play-off but I find it hard to see history being repeated tonight.



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