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Woolf ready to welcome back stars for semi-final clash

Kristian Woolf is expecting a different Hull side to the one which they beat comfortably 34-18 last weekend as the St Helens boss looks forward to the Challenge Cup semi-final.

“We’re expecting a really tough game, and a different one,” Woolf said.

“We were really happy to get back to winning ways at the weekend but it’s a different competition this week and there’s a lot more on the line.

“Hull want to throw themselves into this competition and make amends so there will be a different intent from them.”

The Saints boss is also hoping his side will improve as he looks forward to welcoming star duo Tommy Makinson and Regan Grace back into the team.

“There’s still a lot of improvement in us – we conceded a few tries that we didn’t have to, but it’s a new game and a new competition.

“Last week will not mean much on Saturday. I thought our first-half was really good – we defended really well and made life tough for Hull and our attack was on point.

“The second-half we can improve on, we were a bit indisciplined and were a bit sloppy with the ball.

“Tommy Makinson and Regan Grace are 100% available and we will look to bring them back in.

“Agnatius Paasi and Mark Percival are training well and at this stage I will say they will play.

“Even with those returning though, Jack Welsby will be in our 17, he’s too good a player not to be in there.

“Wherever we play him, he finds a way to make it work, so obviously we’ve got a bit of a plan there.”

Woolf says he is very much looking forward to the semi-final.

“I’m definitely feeling the excitement, everyone understands what’s on the line and our group cherishes these games – they love competing in the big matches.

“Being able to lift the Challenge Cup for the town would be exceptional and it would really lift the mood and be a massive occasion for everyone.

“We understand that we’ve got a really tough challenge and Hull will be feeling exactly the same about their fans.”

Three men that are new to the competition are NRL imports Joel Thompson, Sione Mata’utia and Agnatius Paasi, but Woolf is confident they all know what the Challenge Cup means.

“They all invested before they came over here – they came here with a great understanding of our club, the history and the competitions.

“So, they understand the occasion and what’s on the line – they’ve all shown they are really good players especially in this competition and they’re looking forward to the challenge.

“Joel has played almost 250 NRL games, Sione about 130 and Agnatius like 110 – they not only bring real talent, but a depth of experience as well.”

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