The Champions are now looking as strong as they can be without Lewis Dodd in terms of personnel, suspensions aside, and that does not bode well for the rest of the league.
After failing to win the cup, the Saints will be looking to go through the gears in the second half of the campaign starting with a win over Hull KR.
The Robins meanwhile got their season back on track with a thumping win over Salford last time out and will be hoping to build some momentum here.
The Saints are still without Mark Percival which makes Sione Mata’utia’s absence through suspension more damaging. He’s not the only player to drop out of last week’s 21-man squad with Louie McCarthy-Scarsbrook also absent. Sam Royale and Dani Hill replace them. James Roby will break Kevin Sinfield’s Super League appearance record if he plays.
One of his former teammates is back in town as well as Lachlan Coote makes his return to the Totally Wicked Stadium for Hull KR. He’s a part of a squad which is as strong as the Robins can muster with Brad Takairangi, Jordan Abdull, Kane Linnett and Tom Garrett all out.
Match Preview – Key Battles:
Will Hopoate vs Lachlan Coote: The injury to Lewis Dodd has seen Kristian Woolf again have to rely on the versatility of Jack Welsby who has moved into the halves. It’s nothing to worry about though with the brilliant Will Hopoate at fullback who notched an assist from one last week. He’ll be up against former Saint Lachlan Coote who scored 23 points last week and is in great form. He knows how Saints work and could be a massive threat.
Jack Welsby vs Mikey Lewis: Two exciting players capable of creating something from nothing, it’ll be interesting to see how this battle shapes up with both men set to be key to their side’s attack. Will Welsby’s attacking potential be blunted by being in the halves?
Morgan Knowles vs Elliot Minchella: Super League’s best 13 takes on perhaps the competition’s most underrated loose-forward in a clash of styles. Knowles is all about work ethic and size with a sprinkling of skill, but Minchella fits the KR mould perfectly playing off the cuff rugby which he’ll hope can catch the Champions out.
Where the game will be won and lost:
St Helens are very methodical. They’ll hope to get the game into a rhythm and stamp out the threat the Robins pose. If Hull KR can hold on especially in the middle and conjure up some exciting plays from deep, we may have an upset on our hands.
Score Prediction: St Helens 20-16 Hull KR