On Friday night, St Helens will be looking to close the gap on the top four as they entertain Hull FC in front of the Sky cameras at the Totally Wicked Stadium.
Last Time Out
Saints go into this game off the back of two tightly contested fixtures, as they lost out by two points to Leeds Rhinos last week. Before that they sealed a remarkable comeback victory over Salford Red Devils with a Matty Smith drop-goal, winning the game 25-24. The boot of Jordan Lilley was the difference in their last outing, as he returned from a lengthy spell with Bradford Bulls to snatch the points. Since the appointment of Justin Holbrook, St Helens look to be improving but they need to pick up as many points as possible if they are to finish in the top four at the end of the Super 8’s.
Hull FC know exactly what their opponents went through last week, as they lost by the same margin and score line in their defeat to Castleford Tigers. The league leaders came out on top 24-22, gaining some revenge for the Airlie Birds’ brilliant Challenge Cup victory over the Tigers. They are fighting it out with Wakefield Trinity for fourth place, which will secure them an extra home game in the next stage of the season, so every point is precious for Lee Radford’s men.
The last time these two sides met, St Helens ran out comfortable winners 45-0 in a shock result at St James’ Park during Magic Weekend.
The back line of Hull FC is in devastating form, and if Saints are to get something from this game they will need to keep them quiet. There is a lot of size in the forward packs of both teams, so the battle for the upper hand in the middle will be a bruising encounter. Fetuli Talanoa is one to look out for, for the Black and Whites as he has crossed for five tries in his last four games. His opposite man Tommy Makinson also knows his way to the try line, so it will be an intriguing battle between the two wingers.
These two sides have a lot to play for going into the final stages of the regular season, and will both be desperate to get a win under their belts. With it currently standing at one win each in their meetings this season, it is a tough one to call. St Helens by 6.
St Helens 19-man squad: 1. Jonny Lomax, 2. Tommy Makinson, 3. Ryan Morgan, 4. Mark Percival, 5. Adam Swift, 6. Theo Fages, 8. Alex Walmsley, 9. James Roby, 10. Kyle Amor, 13. Louie McCarthy-Scarsbrook, 14. Luke Douglas, 16. Luke Thompson, 17. Tommy Lee, 18. Dominique Peyroux, 20. Morgan Knowles, 24. Danny Richardson, 28. Regan Grace, 32. Matty Lees, 36. Zeb Taia
Hull Fc 19-man squad: 1. Jamie Shaul, 2. Mahe Fonua, 3. Carlos Tuimavave, 4. Josh Griffin, 5. Fetuli Talanoa, 6. Albert Kelly, 7. Marc Sneyd, 8. Scott Taylor, 9. Danny Houghton, 10. Liam Watts, 12. Mark Minichiello, 14. Jake Connor, 16. Jordan Thompson, 17. Danny Washbrook, 21. Sika Manu, 22. Josh Bowden, 25. Jansin Turgut, 28. Brad Fash, 29. Masimbaashe Matongo
Venue: Totally Wicked Stadium, St Helens
Date/Time: Friday 7th July, 8pm
Referee: Phil Bentham