Friday night’s Sky game features the Saints-Wigan derby, with both teams hoping to make a move into the top 4 and elusive play-off spots. Victory for either team could see them move into fourth if Wakefield lose.
LAST TIME OUT
Before last week’s Cup Final, both teams had very different night in their last Super League fixture. Saints took a trip to Leeds in the final match before the infamous South Stand is demolished. The night went to plan for Leeds, eventually beating St Helens by 16 points to 14. After a scrappy first half, it looked like either side could take the spoils. With a penalty try from either side, it was Jonny Lomax who scored the first try of the night and the only try of the first half a few minutes before half-time, giving the Saints a 8-2 first-half lead.
The Rhinos looked like the team that had the most enthusiam after the break and returned to the field with Ryan Hall scoring the next try on his 300th appearance for the Leeds outfit. A further try from Cutherbertson and a couple of penalties from Watkins looked like the Rhinos had the win in the bag. A consolation try from Danny Richardson gave Saints a slim chance of getting the two points with six minutes to go but it was too little, too late.
Wigan has a convincing warm-up to the Challenge Cup final appearance with a 42-6 win over the Salford Red Devils. By half time, they were leading 26-0 after tries from O’Loughlin, Farrell, Powell and a brace from Joe Burgess.
It didn’t get much better for the Red Devils as Wigan added a further two scores from Williams and Nuuausala to lead 38-0. Niall Evalds crossed for Salford so they avoided an embarrassing duck-egg next to their name but Liam Marshall added another try to cap of a great Wigan win.
There is no main battle like the debut of Ben Barba against Sam Tomkins. Two of the best in the world on their day, these two should be more than a match for each other. Many are dubious of Barba after his year-long drugs ban but he has now done his time and is back. Someone who has won the Dally M medal back in the NRL should be taken very seriously by Wigan. Having been out for over a year, it means he is fresh and raring to go. Both Barba and Tomkins are former half-backs who have made the transition to fullback so have many attributes to their game.
St Helens hand a debut to marquee singing Ben Barba; Jonny Lomax will make the move to halfback to allow Barba to start at fullback. Luke Douglas returns for Saints, with Tommy Lee and Danny Richardson missing out.
Wigan have made two changes to the team that lost in the Cup final to Hull FC. Tom Davies is still out, with the ankle injury that saw him pull out of the final just before kick-off and Joel Tomkins is also out. In come Jack Wellls and Nick Gregson for the Warriors who will be on the hunt for the final piece of silverware, the Grand Final.
St Helens (from): Lomax, Makinson, Morgan, Percival, Fages, Smith, Walmsley, Roby, Amor, Wilkin, McCarthy-Scarsbrook, Douglas, Thompson, Peyroux, Knowles, Grace, Lees, Taia, Barba.
Wigan (from): Tomkins, Gelling, Gildart, Burgess, Williams, Leuluai, Nu’uausala, McIlorum, Farrell, O’Loughlin, Bateman, Clubb, Powell, Tautai, Sutton, Isa, Gregson, Wells, Marshall.
Venue: Totally Wicked Stadium
Referee: Robert Hicks
Date/Time: Friday 1st September 2017, 8pm BST