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SUPER 8s MATCH PREVIEW | Wakefield Trinity vs St. Helens

Wakefield host an out-of-form St. Helens side in a game that either side could win at the Mobile Rocket Stadium.

SQUAD NEWS

Wakefield Trinity

Wakefield Trinity have made one change to the squad that ran out 31-13 winners at Hull FC on Friday.

Full-back Scott Grix is named in the side for the first time since May having recovered from a shoulder injury. The 34-year-old replaces prop Keegan Hirst for Trinity.

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Centre Reece Lyne signed a new long-term contract this week, keeping him at the club until 2023. The deal means that the 25 year-old will reach his tenth year at Trinity, having signed from Hull in 2012.

Wakefield Trinity 19-man-squad: Annakin, Arona, Ashurst, Batchelor, England, Fifita, Grix, Hampshire, Horo, Huby, Johnstone, Jones-Bishop, Jowitt, Lyne, Miller, Pauli, Randell, Tupou, Wood.

St. Helens

Jack Ashworth and Aaron Smith come into Saints’ squad after prop Luke Thompson received a one-game ban last time out.

The club has opted not to appeal Thompson’s ban, which was imposed after the ball accidentally struck the in-goal judge during his celebrations against Huddersfield. Thompson threw the ball out after scoring and the ball struck the leg of the official.

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Adam Swift also drops out but there are no other changes to a St. Helens side seemingly in decline, with head coach Justin Holbrook keeping faith in his regulars.

St. Helens 19-man-squad: Lomax, Makinson, Percival, Fages, M. Smith, Roby, Amor, Taia, Wilkin, McCarthy-Scarsbrook, Douglas, Knowles, Richardson, Grace, Lees, Ashworth, Barba, A. Smith, Costello.

HEAD-TO-HEAD

Wakefield’s 24-20 regular-season victory was one of just three league defeats for St. Helens all season, but they have now suffered back-to-back defeats for the first time in 2018. Since then, Wakefield have been on a great run of form, including a record 72-10 victory over Hull FC, before beating them again in their Super 8s opener last week.

The most recent meeting, however, saw Saints come out on top in a scintillating 34-30 encounter at the Totally Wicked Stadium. Both sides have the ability to cause the other extreme problems by playing expansive, dynamic rugby, but the winner may be the side that can shore up the defence.

KEY BATTLE – Pauli Pauli (Wakefield) vs Ben Barba (St. Helens)

Pauli Pauli has been in brilliant form of late, scoring four tries in his last four games, two of which came from the interchange bench. The massive Australian, who can play prop or second-row, only started his professional career four years ago, but has become an integral part of a Wakefield side who have only lost once in their last four games.

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Barba, Saints’ star of the season, needs to rediscover his electric form from the regular Super League campaign if his side are going to win anything other than the League Leaders Shield. Aussie Barba scored in last week’s disappointing home defeat to Huddersfield Giants, but had failed to score in the previous two games, including the horror show in the Challenge Cup semi-final. If the Merseyside club want to be victorious in the Super 8s, they will have to show up against Wakefield and Barba will need to be on top form.

THE IMPORTANT DETAILS

Date: Thursday 16th August
Venue: Mobile Rocket Stadium
Kick-off: 7:45pm
Referee: Liam Moore

POLL

Which side will win this Super 8s clash?

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