Last weekend there was a huge moment for British rugby league as St Helens defeated NRL Champions Penrith Panthers in their own backyard to be crowned Champions of the World.
But now, after a 53-hour journey due to “complications” the Saints face the tough task of taking on the Castleford Tigers just eight days after winning the World Club Challenge.
The Tigers meanwhile endured a mixed opening weekend. After a terrible start against Hull FC, they battled back and if they take the momentum generated by their nearly sensational comeback they will start strong against the Saints and make them work hard for the win.
This could be the Tigers’ perfect chance to defeat the Champions of Super League and the World.
Lee Radford has made just one alteration to the preliminary line-up which was selected ahead of the Hull FC match. Tigers supporters will be pleased to see local lad and try-scorer extraordinaire Greg Eden coming in to replace Suaia Matagi.
Albert Vete and Muizz Mustapha could both make their competitive bows for Castleford and the likes of Gareth Widdop, Jacob Miller, and Jack Broadbent are in line to run out at The Jungle for the first time in Super League.
Eden could come back to haunt St Helens after scoring an amazing intercept to beat the Saints in 2021.
🛬 Home opener squad news has landed
Squad info ⬇️#COYF
— Castleford Tigers (@CTRLFC) February 24, 2023
As for St Helens, there was much speculation about how Paul Wellens would approach the game, would he rest his entire squad as Kyle Amor suggested?
Well he has gone as strong as he can.
Tommy Makinson is ruled out of the fixture due to head injury protocols, whilst Will Hopoate, James Roby and Agnatius Paasi are stood down following knocks picked up in the World Club Challenge game.
Tee Ritson is in line to make his official competitive debut for the Saints if selected, whilst the powerful youngster George Delaney is named in the initial 21-man squad after making impressing in the Reserves game against Swinton Lions last month, and the First Team friendly against Widnes.
⚪ 𝗦𝗤𝗨𝗔𝗗 𝗡𝗘𝗪𝗦 🔴
Paul Wellens has named his 21-man squad for Sunday's @SuperLeague opener, away at @CTRLFC!
Read more ⬇#COYS | #HistoryInTheMaking
— St.Helens R.F.C. (@Saints1890) February 24, 2023
After this news the bookmakers have changed their tune on the game with Skybet initially placing a handicap on the World and Super League Champions St Helens with Castleford given a two point start on the Saints in the bookies before this news broke resulting in the removal of any handicap.
Now either side are 10/11 to win the game.
A win over the Saints would certainly be a huge result for the Tigers at the start of the season.