St Helens’ trip to Catalans was a costly one.
Not only did they suffer a defeat which now leaves them just two points ahead of Wigan Warriors ahead of their top of the table clash at the Magic Weekend but it also saw Tommy Makinson pick up an injury and Matty Lees pick up a one match ban.
However, Lees could yet feature in the huge clash at St James’ Park with the Super League Champions set to appeal the decision.
The ban was received for a high tackle in the 20-18 defeat to Catalans in a Grand Final rematch and St Helens are to go to tribunal tonight to determine whether the ban stands.
The majority of the time, bans are dismissed as ‘frivolous’ and an extra game is added as with Harry Newman’s appeal last week after he received a two game ban for an altercation with referee Tom Grant as the Rhinos ironically played St Helens.
So the Champions are taking a gamble but one worth taking as Lees has become an integral cog in Saints’ pack in the last two seasons and will be needed to front up against the brilliant pairing of Brad Singleton and Liam Byrne for Wigan as well as the reinforcements Matt Peet will introduce off the bench in Patrick Mago and Kaide Ellis.
The game could go along way to determining where the League Leaders’ Shield ends up and could give one side the edge with both vying for Old Trafford glory.