PREVIEW: Castleford Tigers v St Helens.
The two Super League sides face each other on Saturday’s BBC live coverage game as the Top 8 enter the competition. Castleford are flying in the league at the moment but a loss at the weekend would see them out of the cup at the first hurdle. St Helens have hit an unsteady run of form in recent weeks but will be hoping to get a foothold in the competition.
Last Time Out
Castleford come off the back of two strong wins over Wigan Warriors and Huddersfield Giants. They have only lost three games in the Super League so far this season and are showing just what a team and attitude Castleford have built up over recent years. They showed great spirit last week to see off a Huddersfield team that were determined to put a dent in the Tigers form and St Helens certainly won’t be expecting an easy battle on Saturday afternoon.
St Helens do come into the game knowing that they have already overcome Castleford once in the home leg of their return fixture, something they will hope to achieve once again. Saints were dealt a huge blow last week as they fell to defeat at the hands of a resilient Warrington side – halting any chances of creating a run of form and edging them ever closer to the Middle 8s places.
I think this is going to be a very physical game, with some sore bodies at the end of it. Nobody wants to be knocked out of the cup at the first stage, particularly a Super League side, but one will have to and there is undoubtedly everything to play for here.
Possession will be important, the longer you can keep the ball in your possession will wear down the other side and any mistakes could be costly, so the key battle is likely to be in the halves – and how the kicking game is controlled.
Matty Smith and Luke Gale are big name number 7s in the league at the moment and they are both very smart on the ball. The in-play kicking could be the best way of breaking down each others defence so they will both need to be on top form.
Castleford are travelling so well in the league this year and they are becoming such a classy and exciting team to watch. St Helens have had their demons so far this season but really are searching for that bit of form and consistency.
Although I think it will go right to the wire, for me it’s got to be another win for Castleford. They are showing no signs of stopping at the moment and they’ll certainly want a nice bit of silverware under their belts to show for it.
Castleford by 10 points.
Castleford Tigers: 1. Zak Hardaker, 2. Greg Minikin, 3. Jake Webster, 4.Michael Shenton, 5. Greg Eden, 6.Rangi Chase, 7. Luke Gale, 8. Andy Lynch, 9. Paul McShane, 10. Grant Millington, 12.Mike McMeeken, 13. Adam Milner, 14. Nathan Massey, 15. Jesse Sene-Lefao, 16. Ben Roberts, 17. Junior Moors, 18. Matt Cook, 19. Gadwin Springer, 34. Alex Foster
St Helens: 2. Tommy Makinson, 3. Ryan Morgan, 4. Mark Percival, 5. Adam Swift, 6. Theo Fages, 7. Matty Smith, 8. Alex Walmsley, 9. James Roby, 10. Kyle Amor, 12. Jon Wilkin, 13. Louie McCarthy-Scarsbrook, 14. Luke Douglas, 16. Luke Thompson, 17. Tommy Lee, 18. Dominique Peyroux, 19. Greg Richards, 20. Morgan Knowles, 28. Regan Grace, 36. Zeb Taia
Date: 13th May 2017 2:30pm (GMT) Kick Off
Venue: Mend-a-hose Jungle
Referee: Phil Bentham