Hull FC v St Helens: Team news, match preview and score prediction

In the second game to be shown on Channel 4, Hull FC host Champions St Helens in what is sure to be a spectacular match.

The Black and Whites started their season with a win in the mud against Wakefield. New skipper Luke Gale crossed for a debut try but they lost talisman Jake Connor to a red card at the end of the game. Nonetheless, they held on for the win.

Meanwhile, the Saints proved that they once again are the team to beat as they put Catalans to the sword. Against last year’s league leaders, the Champions looked in a league of their own as they downed the Dragons 28-8.

Team News

Hull will of course be without Jake Connor after he picked up a suspension for the aforementioned red card. He’ll also be joined by Andre Savelio who has also picked up a ban following the win at Wakefield. Carlos Tuimavave – who didn’t feature at Belle Vue – has also dropped out of the squad owing to a tight hamstring. Marcus Walker has been called up alongside exciting youngster Charlie Severs whilst Mitieli Vulikijapani returns from injury to complete the squad. Jamie Shaul – who has been linked with a move to Toulouse – could make his first appearance of the season at fullback.

Fortunately for St Helens, Kristian Woolf hasn’t been forced to make any changes to his 21-man squad following the victory over Catalans. This means the only changes he makes to his side tomorrow will be tactical. New signing James Bell’s wait for a debut goes on after once again being left out of the 21.

Match Preview

Key Battles:

Luke Gale v Johnny Lomax: A former Man of Steel winner up against one man who bizarrely has never scooped up the award, since 2017 these two halfbacks have been two of the best in the league. Luke Gale certainly seemed to have a point to prove last week at Wakefield and his game management and creativity could be key to Hull upsetting the Champions. However, very few halves outplay Johnny Lomax and if the game flows through him, it could be a routine win for St Helens. The last time Gale beat Lomax was of course in that famous semi-final where his drop goal sent Castleford to Old Trafford.

Chris Satae v Alex Walmsley: Many felt Chris Satae was harshly overlooked when it came to the Super League Dream Team last year. An outstanding performer in 2021, he’s one of very few props in the league you feel can make things difficult for Walmsley. However, should Walmsley produce a typically destructive showing, you’d make Saints favourites.

Danny Houghton v James Roby: Two of the most experienced nines in Super League, the pair both have outstanding legacies and have what it takes to boss a game and nick a try here and there. Both will look to control the middle channel and doing so will be vital to deciding the game.

Joe Lovodua v Joey Lussick: Both new signings wearing number 14 and both try scorers in victory last week. The pair seem to be an explosive threat and add another dimension to their team’s attack. Whoever can provide that shift in momentum tomorrow may lead their side to victory.

Where the game will be won and lost:

Ultimately games against St Helens are won in two places: down the middle and on your try line. If you can contain St Helens in the middle of the field and stop their prolific backs turning half chances into tries then you have a chance at shocking the Champions.

However, fail to do these things and it could be a long afternoon for Hull.

Prediction: Hull FC 10-36 St Helens

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