Low-lying Wigan Warriors take on high flying Saints in the Good Friday derby. Here’s everything you need to know.
TEAM FORM GUIDE
It’s been a miserable season so far for the champions, both on and off the field. Off the field, Shaun Edwards confirmed he will not be coaching Wigan next season. On the field, they suffered their seventh defeat of the season away to Wakefield to leave them 10th.
Saints started their season unbeaten but they suffered their first loss of the season away to Catalans two weeks ago. They were back to winning ways last week with a convincing win 38-12 against Warrington to take them back to the top of the table.
Wigan will welcome back their captain and leader Sean O’Loughlin into their squad. Ben Flower and Joe Greenwood are also welcome returns.
However, Sam Powell misses out due to suspension while Dom Manfredi has been ruled out for the season with an ACL injury.
Wigan 19-man squad: Escare, Davies, Sarginson, Gildart, Burgess, Williams, Leulaui, Flower, Greenwood, O’Loughlin, Navarette, Isa, Tautai, Hardaker, Bullock, Hankinson, Partington, Shorrocks, Smithies.
There is just one change to the St Helens 19 man squad, with Theo Fages returning to the side after two weeks out with a hip injury, with Jack Ashworth missing out. Justin Holbrook will have to choose between Fages and Danny Richardson to partner Jonny Lomax in the halves.
St Helens 19-man squad: Lomax, Makinson, Naiqama, Percival, Grace, Fages, Richardson, Walmsley, Roby, Thompson, Taia, Paulo, McCarthy-Scarsbrook, Knowles, Amor, Peyroux, Lees, Smith, Coote.
HEAD TO HEAD
The 2019 season kicked off with St Helens at home to Wigan, in which St Helens won the game 22-12. Interestingly, Wigan and Saints have 37 wins each in the Super League era, with four draws meaning whoever wins on Good Friday will have complete bragging rights.
Zak Hardaker (Wigan Warriors) v Lachlan Coote (St Helens)
Zak Hardaker has been disappointing to say the least. During his Man of Steel winning season, Hardaker was almost untouchable and was at the heart of Castleford’s expansive attacking play while being no doubt the best defensive full back in the competition. This season has been completely different. He has so far been a steady full back for Wigan but we all know that Zak is better than that. There is no better game to put on a show than a Good Friday derby in front of a full house against your nearest rivals.
Meanwhile it’s been quite the opposite over the Billinge lump with their off-season signing Lachlan Coote. Coote has quickly become a cult hero with the St Helens fans. According to them, he is the reason they are top of the league this season and they could well be right about that. His passing game is superb and has had a hand in many St Helens tries so far this season, while his positional sense in defence is unquestionable.
THE IMPORTANT DETAILS
Date: Friday 19th April
Venue: DW Stadium
Referee: James Child
WHO WILL WIN?
Judging by the difference between the sides this season so far, the Saints are head and shoulders above Wigan in all areas. Saints win by 20 points.