Huddersfield Giants host Super-League table-toppers St. Helens in the Challenge Cup on Sunday afternoon, eager to halt their poor run of form against the Saints.
TEAM FORM GUIDE
The Giants have only won one of their last four games and have lost their last two – the 25-26 loss at home to Wakefield last time out being even more gut-wrenching than the 50-19 defeat at Warrington a fortnight ago.
Huddersfield, who won the Cup for the last time in 1953, have only been to Wembley three times since, most recently when they fell short against the Wolves in 2009.
Saints have hit at least forty points in each of their last two matches – hammering Catalans Dragons 50-14 before beating Hull Kingston Rovers 26-42 last time out.
Kevin Naiqama and Tommy Makinson both scored hat tricks against the Robins a week after Matthew Costello ran over three times against Catalans.
Huddersfield have three ex Saints players in their squad – Paul Clough, Lee Gaskell and Jordan Turner are all keen for a Challenge Cup shock against the Super League leaders.
Gaskell is back after four games out, while Joe Wardle and Matty English return following the now obligatory concussion protocol.
Michael Lawrence misses out as he serves a one-game suspension for Grade B dangerous contact in last weekend’s 26-25 home defeat by Wakefield, the Giants’ first home defeat in four games since the defeat to Saints back in March.
Huddersfield Giants 19-man squad: McIntosh, McGillvary, Turner, Gaskell, Frawley, Clough, Leeming, Matagi, Murphy, Mellor, O’Brien, Roberts, Ta’ai, English, Russell, Hewitt, L Senior, I Senior, Joe Wardle.
Saints, who sit 16 points and eight places above the Giants in the Super League table, are still without Luke Thompson, Mark Percival and Louie McCarthy-Scarsbrook.
Young centre Matty Costello, however, keeps his place and Adam Swift is included.
St Helens 19-man squad: Lomax, Makinson, Naiqama, Grace, Fages, Richardson, Walmsley, Roby, Taia, Paulo, Knowles, Amor, Peyroux, Swift, Lees, Ashworth, Smith, Coote. Costello.
HEAD TO HEAD
Saints ran in seven tries in the 12-40 win at the John Smith’s Stadium in March – Luke Thompson, Morgan Knowles, Mark Percival (2), Regan Grace, Dominique Peyroux and Jonny Lomax all running over to take the two points.
Huddersfield, however, did pull the game back from 12-0 to 12-12 at half time and could well argue that if they didn’t pick up not one but two crucial injuries in the second forty, they could’ve gone on to win it.
Saints, 12 times winners of the famous old trophy, have not been to Wembley since 2008 -the last of three cup triumphs on the bounce – the first of which, two years earlier, came against the Giants at Twickenham.
Jordan Turner (Huddersfield Giants) vs Regan Grace
Both men scored in the previous meeting between the two sides at this ground in the spring. Turner pulled the scores level before the interval, only to see his counterpart score a brilliant try literally run away with the game for the travelling Saints.
Turner faces off against his old side once more and will be more determined than ever to get one over on his former employers. Grace, however, will have other ideas.
THE IMPORTANT DETAILS
Date: Sunday 12th May 2019
Venue: John Smith’s Stadium
Kick-off: 18:05 GMT
Referee: Scott Mikalauskas
WHO WILL WIN?
Huddersfield have only lost one of their last four home matches and have many important players coming back from injuries, but I can only see a St. Helens victory. Their attack will be too much for the Giants again: 12-30.