Table toppers St. Helens welcome Wakefield to the Totally Wicked Stadium on Friday night as they attempt to win an eighth consecutive Super League game. Here’s everything you need to know:
Justin Holbrook has named the same squad that battled to a 23-22 win over Leeds at Headingley two weeks ago.
Jonny Lomax, Tommy Makinson and Mark Percival, who all played for England against New Zealand in Denver, are expected to play while Luke Thompson, who also travelled as part of Wayne Bennett’s squad but didn’t feature, is set to take his place in the forwards.
Alex Walmsley recently began training again after a serious neck injury but is still some time away from returning.
St. Helens 19-man squad: Lomax, Makinson, Morgan, Percival, Fages, Smith, Roby, Taia, Wilkin, McCarthy-Scarsbrook, Douglas, Knowles, Thompson, Peyroux, Richardson, Grace, Lees, Ashworth, Barba.
Wakefield eased through their rearranged fixture with Widnes on Sunday, coming out 44-22 winners, but did lose captain Danny Kirmond to a knee injury which rules him out of this match.
Replacing him is Irish international Liam Finn who could make his first appearance in almost six weeks if selected.
Wakefield Trinity 19-man squad: Johnstone, Tupou, Lyne, Jones-Bishop, Miller, Finn, Fifita, Wood, England, Ashurst, Randell, Pauli, Arona, Batchelor, Hirst, Jowitt, Annakin, Caton-Brown, Hampshire.
HEAD TO HEAD
Wakefield inflicted one of St. Helens’ two defeats in the league this season when they last met back in April. Saints found themselves 22-6 down after just 22 minutes but fought hard to get back within two points midway through the second half. However, they couldn’t find a match winner and Liam Finn’s late penalty saw Trinity hold on for a 24-20 success.
That was one of just four wins Wakefield have had over St. Helens in the last 20 meetings, although they did also come out 16-12 victors on their last visit to Merseyside in March 2017.
KEY BATTLE- Regan Grace v Ben Jones-Bishop
Ben Jones-Bishop has been in fine form recently with six tries in his last six games, including two in his side’s impressive win over Wigan Warriors three weeks ago.
The ex-Leeds and Salford winger is one of Wakefield’s most dangerous players and will need to perform well and take whatever chances come his way if Trinity are to overcome the team with the league’s best defensive record.
Opposite to him will be Regan Grace, the 21-year old with 12 tries in all competitions this season. The Welshman’s pace can create opportunities in the blink of an eye, which is something he has been doing throughout 2018 as Saints have torn through opposition defences.
With Ben Barba and Mark Percival joining in attacks down the left too, it will be interesting to see how the Wakefield defence, which received criticism from Chris Chester after the win over Widnes, will cope with what is thrown at them.
THE IMPORTANT DETAILS
Date: Friday 29th June 2018
Venue: The Totally Wicked Stadium
Referee: James Child
WHO WILL WIN?