Wigan Warriors had an absolutely brilliant 2013, winning both the Challenge Cup and the Super League itself. However, after losing Sam Tomkins to the New Zealand Warriors and taking a 36-14 beating at the hands of the Sydney Roosters, Wigan started the season out of sorts.

With defeats to Huddersfield Giants and Castleford Tigers in their first three games, many feared the worst for the defending champions. Fast forward a month and the Warriors are fighting again, managing to beat Hull KR and Catalan Dragons at home whilst overcoming Warrington at the Halliwell Jones Stadium. After a sluggish start, the Lancashire outfit are now starting to fire on all cylinders.

Wigan are 7/2 with bet365 to win the Super League Grand Final (http://www.bet365.com.au/news/en/betting/rugby-league/super-league) and look a decent bet to retain their title. They are currently sitting in fifth place on eight points after six games; every side bar Wigan and Widnes has played seven games. The Warriors’ game in-hand against Widnes is no walkover, but it is a game you would back them to win, which would put Wigan in fourth position.

As long as the Warriors finish in the play-offs, which they will, you have to fancy them to go on and win the Grand Final. Last year they finished fourth but went on to win the competition, thanks in no small part to the brilliance of their coach Shaun Wane.

The huge void left behind by Tomkins is now starting to appear ever smaller. Australian veteran Matthew Bowen was brought in from the North Queensland Cowboys and after a few months of assimilating into the squad, he’s looking like a perfect replacement for Tomkins. The 32-year-old was brilliant in the NRL, which is the superior league, and now you can expect him to tear it up in the Super League.

Tomkins was instrumental for Wigan last year and this year Bowen can do the same. This could be his only season in Britain so you can bet he will want to experience some silverware.

Wigan are a young squad but one that is rapidly maturing. In Josh Charnley they have the league’s top try-scorer for the previous two seasons and you would think that he would be up there again this season. Charnley is a supreme talent and one who turned numerous heads when he was Down Under with the Warriors in February. 23-year-old Liam Farrell, cousin of Wigan great Andy, is coming on leaps and bounds this season, making 877 metres for the Warriors thus far.

You feel if Charnley and Farrell continue growing as players that the Warriors will be able to pose numerous problems to early favourites St Helens and Leeds Rhinos.

The loss of Tomkins and the demoralising defeat to the Roosters were key contributions to the Warriors sluggish start but now they have stopped wallowing in self-pity they are starting to return to their former self. The Warriors may not emulate last season by doing the double but you should bank on them picking up silverware in 2014.

By ricky

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