St Helens final chance of making the top four will be on the line as they welcome the Huddersfield Giant’s in round six of the Super 8’s.
Justin Holbrooks side have been on a rollercoaster of form as of late having been beaten by rivals Wigan last month and overcoming Wakefield late on in round five. However Holbrook is looking for a better defensive performance when the Giants travel to Langtree Park.
“We know we have to win our next two games, but you would expect to do that if you want to be in the semi-finals,” Saints head coach Justin Holbrook said.
“Our last home game has come around quickly and it would be great for the boys to put in a good performance for the fans. We want to play well to thank them for their support this year.”
“The Wakefield game is something for us to build on and if we keep winning we put ourselves in a good place.”
Huddersfield sit at the foot of the Super 8’s ladder after their poor showing against Salford last week where they lost 52-14.
Head coach of the Giants Rick Stone is not happy with how his side have performed in the super 8’s and they need to improve massively over the next two games.
“I don’t want to keep harping on about last week but it’s something that has been acceptable at this club far too much over the last couple of years,” said Stone
“It’s not acceptable now for the fans and for our expectations of the place. I’m definitely looking forward to Saints; I don’t know if we saw it coming last week but we’re looking forward to trying and rectifying it now.”
“We’ve got two games, we’ll try and produce our best and see what we can do.”
St Helens victory against Wakefield was the shadow of their past years, having won many games within the last five minutes. This is something that St Helens need to fix as last minute wins will not always occur and one day their look may just run out.
PLAYERS TO WATCH
Regan Grace – St Helens
Grace made his debut in the Easter Monday clash with the Wigan Warriors, scoring a try on his Super League debut. Aswell as earning himself a new two and half year contract back in May, Grace has appeared in all of Wales’s World Cup qualifiers making three appearances for John Kear’s side.
He has been a key figure in the Saints attack in the past few months especially on the wing and he can adapt to play in the centres which is something Justin Holbrook will need in the future. This adaptability and his lightning quick pace and ball carrying skills will be vital in getting Saints the win on Friday night.
Lee Gaskell – Huddersfield Giants
Gaskell joined Huddersfield after a number of seasons at championship club Bradford Bulls, but joined the Giants following the Bulls administration. Since he joined he has been a key part in Huddersfield’s revival and has gone on to score 12 times for Rick Stone’s side.
Gaskells key attributes is his strength and determination to get the job done, this is shown through his amount of tackles which currently stands at 352 aswell as making 1776 metres in his short time at the John Smiths Stadium.
St Helens Squad: 1. Jonny Lomax 2. Tommy Makinson, 3. Ryan Morgan, 4. Mark Percival, 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, 18. Dominique Peyroux, 20. Morgan Knowles, 24. Danny Richardson, 28. Regan Grace, 36. Zeb Taia, 37. Ben Barba.
Huddersfield Giants: 2. Jermaine McGillvary, 4. Lee Gaskell, 6. Danny Brough, 8. Sam Rapira, 9. Ryan Hinchcliffe, 12. Dale Ferguson, 13. Michael Lawrence, 14. Kruise Leeming, 16. Oliver Roberts, 17. Ukuma Ta’ai, 18. Paul Clough, 20. Daniel Smith, 22. Tyler Dickinson, 23. Sam Wood, 24. Darnell McIntosh, 30. Alex Mellor, 31. Adam O’Brien, 34. Jordan Turner, 35. Jordan Rankin.
Prediction: St Helens 42- Huddersfield 12