It’s a top of the table clash that sadly doesn’t really matter, as Widnes welcome Wakefield to the DCBL Stadium on Sunday.

Regardless of what happens on the pitch this season, Wakefield are all but certain to be playing in Super League next season and Widnes definitely not courtesy of the new IMG grading criteria.

An encouraging start to the season for the Vikings won’t necessarily reap the benefits that it should, as it won’t yield the excitement of a possible promotion push, however unlikely.

Of course, Wakefield are heavy favourites to win the Championship this season anyway, and despite their current league standing, Widnes are well off where Trinity are and will be massive underdogs even at home when they take to the field.

For the Vikings, reaching the play-offs this season is the name of the game – something they have failed to do in all four of the full seasons played since their relegation from Super League at the end of 2018.

Whether Widnes can give Wakefield a game, remains to be seen.

They have been competitive in every outing this season, losing twice in the league – both by eight points, away at Featherstone and Toulouse. Their most recent win, away at York, was reflective of the team spirit fostered by new coach Allan Coleman in 2024, as they fought back from 18-6 down to claim a win late on.

A repeat of their first half performance in that one against Wakefield could lead to embarrassment though, and Coleman will surely be emphasising that point in the dressing room pre-game.

Either way, it is the first time Widnes have been part of a true top of the table clash at this stage of the season since the Good Friday defeat to Warrington in 2016 at the top of Super League.

Player talk

Although there has been some criticism at an apparent lack of marketing of the game, Widnes have been boosted by two big pieces of re-signing news this week – captain Jack Owens and fellow Widnesian Tom Gilmore have committed their futures to the club until at least the end of 2026.

The absence of Joe Edge through injury has partly been tempered by the return of Tom Nisbet, who has again joined the club on loan from Leigh. He previously made three appearances prior to the York game, scoring a try away at Toulouse.

Widnes go in to the game off the back of a much-needed week off. There had been some signs of wobbling in recent weeks, a narrow win at home to Doncaster and a draw against Whitehaven were followed by defeat in Toulouse, as well as a couple of injuries forcing some re-shuffling of the line-up, particularly in the centres, where Widnes perhaps have the least depth in their squad.

Wakefield had what was ultimately a comfortable 1895 Cup final win over Sheffield at Wembley and while they will no doubt have celebrated that one, it’s unlikely to have any real impact on the outcome of this match.

Trinity have won all 10 of their Championship games so far, scoring on average 38 points and conceding just 10. They aren’t completely invincible though – as Featherstone proved back in March, beating them 14-10 in the Challenge Cup which is Wakefield’s only loss of the year in all competitions.

Featherstone also got within eight points of them in their league match in March but other than that, Toulouse’s 16 point defeat is the closest anybody has got.

Wakefield are without Jermaine McGillvary, Iain Thornley and Ky Rodwell for the trip to Widnes, though still boast a formidable squad with Luke Gale and Mason Lino at half-back.

On the wing is reigning Championship Player of the Year Lachlan Walmsley, although Widnes fans may remember he was completely outplayed by Ryan Ince when the two faced each other at The Shay last season while Walmsley was at Halifax. If Ince returns to the Widnes squad for this weekend, he will make his 100th appearance for the club.

Hooker Liam Hood, who had a brief stint at Widnes before the club’s administration, and Myles Lawford, son of former Widnes half-back Dean Lawford, are other notable names in the squad.

Wakefield’s first visit to Widnes in six years

The last time Wakefield visited Widnes was in May 2018, for what turned out to be Denis Betts’ last game in charge.

Wakefield ran out 19-6 winners, despite a Patrick Ah Van try, and there were notable protests against then chief executive James Rule as part of a crowd of just 3,681.

Following the match, which was the fifth in a run of 17 straight defeats, Betts was dismissed and Widnes subsequently appointed Francis Cummins and bombed down to the Championship.

Jordan Johnstone was in the starting team that day, and he will likely feature from the start on Sunday as he and Matty Fozard continue to impress in the middle.

The two sides have met since the Super League era, Wakefield winning 26-6 at Belle Vue in the Challenge Cup in 2019.

The teams were tied at 6-all at half time but Wakefield’s Super League experience proved too strong.

Lloyd Roby scored Widnes’ try, converted by Jack Owens, who was also sinbinned during the game for dissent, while Johnstone, Joe Lyons and Sam Wilde also featured.

Last 5 meetings

Wakefield 26-6 Widnes (Challenge Cup, 10 May 2019)

Wakefield 44-22 Widnes (Super League, 24 June 2018)

Widnes 6-19 Wakefield (Super League, 25 May 2018)

Widnes 8-36 Wakefield (Super League, 14 July 2017)

Wakefield 34-12 Widnes (Super League Magic Weekend, 20 May 2017)

Last 5 games

Widnes: W 22-18 @ York, L 20-28 @ Toulouse, D 28-28 v Whitehaven, W 16-14 v Doncaster, W 14-13 @ Bradford

Wakefield: W 50-6 v Sheffield (1895 Cup), W 56-0 v Dewsbury, W 30-6 @ Whitehaven, W 46-22 v Swinton, W 36-10 @ Sheffield


Widnes: TBC

Wakefield squad: Max Jowitt, Oliver Pratt, Lachlan Walmsley, Luke Gale, Mason Lino, Josh Bowden, Liam Hood, Renouf Atoni, Matty Ashurst, Josh Griffin, Jay Pitts, Liam Kay, Caleb Uele, Luke Bain, Thomas Doyle, Jack Croft, Romain Franco, Myles Lawford, Harvey Smith, Noah Booth, Derrell Olpherts.

Ticket information

Buy tickets online via the Vikings website. Wakefield fans are being located in the north stand for this game.

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