St Helens face Huddersfield at The Totally Wicked Stadium coming off the back of a shock defeat to bottom of the table London Broncos.
TEAM FORM GUIDE
Despite last weeks defeat to London, Saints sit four points clear of Warrington at the top of the table. They now have two defeats this season but still have a 100% record at home which shows how big of a task this will be for Huddersfield.
Huddersfield’s form was a bit scratchy at the start of the season and they looked as if they could have been in a relegation scrap but Simon Woolford has turned it around. They have gained a few good wins such as their Magic Weekend victory over Hull FC while they have also been unlucky in some fixtures such as loosing by one point against Wakefield and Castleford respectively.
Justin Holbrook decided to rest quite a few players last week. This week the quartet of Jonny Lomax, Tommy Makinson, Alex Walsmley and Zeb Taia return to the squad. James Roby has had to have minor surgery on his groin which means he will be out of action for four weeks. Squad rotation continues with Regan Grace and Matty Lees both being rested.
St Helens 19-man squad: 1. Jonny Lomax 2. Tommy Makinson 3. Kevin Naiqama 4. Mark Percival 6. Theo Fages 8. Alex Walmsley 10. Luke Thompson 11. Zeb Taia 12. Joseph Paulo 13. Louie McCarthy-Scarsbrook 15. Morgan Knowles 16. Kyle Amor 17. Dom Peyroux 18, Adam Swift 20. Jack Ashworth 21. Aaron Smith 22. James Bentley 23. Lachlan Coote 24. Matty Costello
Only one change has been made from their defeat to Castleford last week with Jermaine McGillvary missing out and Innes Senior moving into the squad.
Huddersfield 19-man squad: 1. Darnell McIntosh 4. Jordan Turner 6. Lee Gaskell 7. Matt Frawley 8. Paul Clough 9. Kruise Leeming 10. Suaia Matagi 11. Aaron Murphy 12. Alex Mellor 13. Michael Lawrence 14. Adam O’Brien 17. Ukuma Ta’ai 19. Matty English 20. Jake Wardle 23. Oliver Russell 29. Sam Hewitt 26. Sebastine Ikahihifo 32. Innes Senior 35. Joe Wardle
HEAD TO HEAD
This fixture will be the third meeting between the two sides this season. Saints have got the better of the Giants on their two previous occasions with a 40-12 victory over them in the league and then a hard fought 22-16 victory in the cup.
Jonny Lomax (St Helens) v Lee Gaskell (Huddersfield)
At the start of the 2011 season Saints were in a bit of a mess in the half back department. Leon Pryce had major injury problems while Kyle Eastmond had forced a move to rugby union. They were left with playing two inexperience halves in Lee Gaskell and Jonny Lomax who were hailed the future of the side as they came twenty minutes from a Grand Final victory.
Things however did not work that way. Jonny Lomax was moved from the stand off role to full back by Nathan Brown while Lee Gaskell fell out favour at Saints and has played for Bradford and now Huddersfield.
This season has been Lee Gaskell’s best ever season in the Super League. The lanky stand off is pivotal to the Giants and guides the team round with his kicking game while he also has an eye for the try line. Lomax showed how important he is to the side as Saints really looked like they missed his creativity from half back last week against the Broncos.
THE IMPORTANT DETAILS
Venue: Totally Wicked Stadium
Referee: Scott Mikalauskas
WHO WILL WIN?
I think Huddersfield will feel the backlash from last week and get soundly beaten by Saints.