St Helens entertain the Leigh Centurions at the Totally Wicked Stadium on Friday Night with the hosts coming into the game after a tough loss away at Widnes. Patrick Ah Van’s try nine minutes from the end secured the win for the Vikings in match many expected Saints to win comfortably. Leigh enter the fixture with six straight losses; their most recent in the Challenge Cup to Championship leaders Hull KR in a worrying 23-10 defeat.
The Saints were woeful in attack against Widnes as they missed several key chances to put bottom of the table Widnes to bed last Friday night. Interim head coach Jamahl Lolesi questioned the attitude of his players after the defeat in an interview live on Sky, saying that some of them may have thought it would have been easy with Widnes’ position on the table.
Following the defeat last week, several changes have been made to the Saints squad with Ricky Bailey, Greg Richards and Matty Fleming missing out; they are replaced by Luke Douglas, Ryan Morgan and the son of former head-coach Keiron Cunningham, Jonah Cunningham, who makes his first appearance in the senior 19-man squad.
Leigh will be disappointed to have exited the Challenge Cup last weekend after a poor outing against Hull KR, the team they replaced in the Betfred Super League ahead of this season. Head coach Neil Jukes will hope his side show a better brand of Rugby League and more determination against a Saints side expected to win in front of their own supporters.
The Centurions will be without forward Gareth Hock who is replaced by Australian full-back Mitch Brown. Former Saints forward Atelea Vea is expected to line-up against his former side as Leigh look to end a poor recent run that has seen them plummet to down the table.
St Helens Squad: Makinson, Morgan, Percival, Swift, Fages, Smith, Walmsley, Amor, Wilkin, McCarthy-Scarsbrook, Douglas, Walker, Thompson, Lee, Peyroux, Knowles, Grace, Cunningham, Taia.
Leigh Squad: Brown, Higson, Crooks, Dawson, Ridyard, Drinkwater, Weston, Stewart, Hansen, Pelissier, Tickle, Vea, Hampshire, Reynolds, Hood, Hopkins, Acton, Burr, Naughton.
Referee: Gareth Hewer
Touch-judges: L Moore and P Brooke