This week we return to Super League where St Helens will face Salford at the Totally Wicked Stadium on Friday night. Here’s everything you need to know.
TEAM FORM GUIDE
Saints have been in great from all season, only losing one out of the fifteen games in all competitions this season. They enjoyed a successful Easter period but haven’t hit those heights in the last couple of weeks. Despite the result, last week’s victory over Huddersfield was probably the worst performance of their season and that includes their solitary loss to Catalans earlier in the season.
Salford Red Devils
Salford’s form really is hit and miss. You do not know which Salford are going to turn up: it could either be the side that blew Warrington away at the Halliwell Jones Stadium or the side that bowed out of the Challenge Cup at home to Hull KR last weekend. They currently sit in sixth position at the moment and are giving themselves every chance of a play-off spot come the end of the season.
Justin Holbrook has decided not to risk James Roby who suffered a knock last weekend.
Mark Percival, Luke Thompson and Louie McCarthy-Scarsbrook are all progressing well but are still a couple of weeks away from returning to the action.
Aaron Smith will likely replace Roby whilst Jack Welsby and James Bentley will both fight it out for the last spot on the bench.
St Helens 19-man squad: Lomax, Makinson, Naiqama, Grace, Fages, Walmsley, Taia, Paulo, Knowles, Amor, Peyroux, Swift, Lees, Ashworth, Smith, Bentley, Coote, Costello, Welsby.
Salford Red Devils
Salford have made two changes to their squad last week. During the week, it was announced that Pauli Pauli would be moving across The Pennines from Wakefield on a month-long loan, with Junior Sau moving in the other direction.
Pauli is therefore set to make his debut while Logan Tomkins returns to the squad.
Jake Bibby and Josh Wood move out of the squad.
Salford 19-man squad: Evalds, Welham, Lui, Mossop, Dudson, Jones, Griffin, Lussick, Walker, Burke, McCarthy, Nakubuwai, Tomkins, Murray, Olpherts, Sio, Inu, Pauli, Hastings.
HEAD TO HEAD
Salford have not won at Saints for over 40 years, which does not bode well for the Red Devils.
The closest they have got to beating them in recent years was in 2017, when Saints scored 17 points in the last 14 minutes to break Salford’s hearts.
Earlier this season, St Helens eased to victory with a 26-4 win at the AJ Bell Stadium.
Jonny Lomax (St Helens) v Jackson Hastings (Salford Red Devils)
If Salford are to have any chance of winning this game, Jackson Hastings will have to come out firing. Even with injuries to Luke Thompson and Louie McCarthy-Scarsbrook, Saints’ pack have steamrolled most sides in the league and have given them the platform for many of their victories. Hastings’ kicking game will have to be on point to get Salford as much field position as possible. On his day, he is one of the best players in the competition though.
Hastings comes up against a player he has publicly announced his admiration for in Jonny Lomax. Lomax was poor last week by his own high standards so will want to get back in form this week. Lomax’s strengths are his running game, much like Hastings, and this season, he has developed a great understanding with Lachlan Coote.
THE IMPORTANT DETAILS
Date: Friday 17th May
Venue: Totally Wicked Stadium
Referee: Scott Mikalauskas
WHO WILL WIN?
I think Saints will make it 40 years without a win for Salford on Friday evening. Saints are unbelievably good at home and have scored 150 points in their last three home games.