WARRINGTON WOLVES are one of the favourites to be crowned Super League XVI champions.
And it’s easy to see why!
After 20 rounds, the Challenge Cup holders are second in the top-flight table, just a point behind champions Wigan, and one ahead of the third-placed Giants.
But arguably the most significant fact of all is the Wolves’ points difference.
While Wigan boast a positive of 245 and the Giants 199, Warrington’s is a remarkable 455 after scoring more points than any other team in the competition and conceding the least. They’ve scored an average of 38.1 points per game, and are conceding a miserly 15.3.
So far this season, they have suffered just five Super League defeats and go into tonight’s contest looking to make it 10 wins in their last 11 League and Cup outings.
However, the most significant fact of all is that two of Warrington’s five defeats so far have been at the hands of Huddersfield.
In the opening game of Super League XVI at Cardiff’s Millennium Stadium, the Giants triumphed 28-16 and then made it a double with a 29-10 triumph at the Galpharm Stadium.
Furthermore, Huddersfield secured a memorable play-off victory on their last visit to the Halliwell Jones Stadium last September.
So, beating Warrington, home and away, is something the Giants know they can do.
But given the Wolves’ current form, they’ll also know that’s not going to be easy.
MANY eyebrows were raised when Warrington signed Brett Hodgson from the Giants on a two-year contract for the start of 2011.
At the age of 33, it was felt it could have been a bit of a gamble.
But that gamble is undoubtedly paying off, with the inspirational goalkicking full-back carrying on from where he left off at the Galpharm Stadium.
The highly-respected Australian crowned his first season at the Galpharm following his move from Wests Tigers in theAustralian NRL by taking the Man of Steel award as the player to have made the biggest impact in a Super League season. He was the first Giants man to take the honour.
And many have suggested that if he continues to maintain this level of form for the Wolves he could be in the reckoning again for the game’s highest individual accolade.
LIKE Brett Hodgson, Tony Smith still needs little introduction to Giants fans.
After helping to finally establish the Giants as a respected top-flight force, the Australian moved to Leeds Rhinos and immediately brought them Super League Grand Final success.
A spell as the England national coach followed before he began to work his magic at Warrington.
They began this season as the Challenge Cup holders and are among the favourites to lift the Super League trophy in 2011.
Wolves: Anderson, Atkins, Blythe, Bridge, Carvell, Clarke, Cooper, Grix, Harrison, Higham, Hodgson, King, J Monaghan, M Monaghan, Myler, Solomona, Westwood, Williams, Wood.
Giants: Grix, Lawrence, Cudjoe, Gilmour, Hodgson, Brown, Crabtree, Robinson, O’Donnell, Fa’alogo, Mason, Kirmond, Patrick, Horne, McGillvary, Wood, McNally, Wardle, Ferguson.
Referee: Ben Thaler.
Video Referee: Ian Smith.
The Giants will be wearing their white alternative shirt.