St. Helens look to recover from their Challenge Cup blowout as they take on Huddersfield Giants in the first round of the Super 8s. Here’s everything you need to know…
Justin Holbrook has named an unchanged side following St. Helens’ Challenge Cup exit, meaning Ryan Morgan continues to miss out through injury.
The question on everyone’s minds is whether the league leaders can rediscover their form or whether their season will derail from here on out.
Unbeaten in twelve league games, Saints still find themselves as the form side in the competition. However, with performances on the field not matching their early season fireworks, work is needed to recover.
St. Helens 19-man squad: Lomax, Makinson, Percival, Swift, Fages, Smith, Roby, Amor, Taia, Wilkin, McCarthy-Scarsbrook, Douglas, Knowles, Thompson, Richardson, Grace, Lees, Barba, Costello.
The Giants are boosted for their visit to the Totally Wicked Stadium as new signing Suaia Matagi comes into the squad to make his debut.
Matagi is one of three changes Simon Woolford makes following the 40-28 victory over Wakefield a fortnight ago. Jake Mamo and Kruise Leeming return to the squad replacing Aaron Murphy, Michael Lawrence and Jake Wardle.
Since their mid-season revival, Huddersfield have rocketed up the table suffering just one defeat in their last nine games. They sit in fifth place, six points behind Warrington, and the Giants will be looking to muscle in on the top four.
Huddersfield 19-man squad: Mamo, McGillvary, Cudjoe, Turner, Gaskell, Brough, Leeming, Hinchcliffe, Ferguson, Rankin, Roberts, Ta’ai, Clough, Smith, O’Brien, Mellor, McIntosh, English, Matagi.
In the last six meetings between these two sides, Saints have enjoyed the majority of the spoils winning four games, including a convincing 66-4 victory earlier this season.
At the Totally Wicked Stadium, Saints’ home advantage has rung true winning four of the six games held there.
As the Super 8’s kick off, Huddersfield could face the backlash of a defeated Saints or a disheartened side struggling for form.
KEY BATTLE – Regan Grace vs Jermaine McGillvary
Two players at the opposite ends of their careers, Grace burst onto the scene last year under Holbrook and hasn’t looked back since, whereas McGillvary launched himself onto the world scene following his World Cup performances.
Ever present in the league this season, Grace has crossed for 11 tries while chipping in with three assists, forming a lethal left side edge with Mark Percival. Following his early-season injury troubles McGillvary has come back strong, scoring ten tries in just 14 appearances including consecutive hat-tricks in his last two.
However, despite their expertise in finishing the key battle that could decide the game will be the defensive aspect of their game. Can Grace cope with the sheer power of McGillvary? Will the teamwork of Percival and Grace prove too much?
THE IMPORTANT DETAILS
Date: 10th August 2018
Venue: Totally Wicked Stadium
Referee: Scott Mikalauskas