Saturday’s derby between St Helens and Wigan could be the biggest game of the season.
The original derby and always a fierce rivalry, the two teams have traded wins in their first two clashes this season and now just two points separate the two going into their big game at a big stadium – Newcastle United’s St James’ Park.
All the makings of a blockbuster movie then, but the cast is still uncertain.
Yesterday there was a switch up for St Helens with Matty Lees’ one match ban over turned after appeal and today the Saints have given an injury update confirming the availability of some of their star players.
Trio Louie McCarthy-Scarsbrook, Konrad Hurrell and Will Hopoate are all expected to return to the squad with LMS and Hopoate getting over injury struggles and Hurrell shaking off an illness.
However, there will be no Tommy Makinson. The star winger left the field against Catalans with a tight hamstring and is expected to miss at least three to five weeks in a major blow to the Champions given his remarkable try scoring form in 2022.
It makes Hopoate’s return timely as he will return to fullback enabling Jon Bennison to join n the departing Regan Grace on the wing.
Hurrell will meanwhile return to the centres with Sione Mata’utia enabled to return to his preferred backrow position if Ben Davies remains at centre.
No matter the personnel it should be a great game and could determine the destination of the League Leaders’ Shield in the long run.