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MATCH PREVIEW | Warrington Wolves vs St Helens

Second-placed Warrington welcome league leaders St Helens to the Halliwell Jones Stadium for this mouth-watering top-of-the-table clash. Here’s everything that you need to know.

 

TEAM FORM GUIDE

Warrington Wolves

The Wire are currently sitting second and are looking to make it two wins on the bounce, following last week’s 30-6 win against Wakefield Trinity. They have won 14 games this year and lost five, with the Wolves last tasting defeat two weeks ago against Hull KR.

St Helens 

Saints are currently top and are looking to make it three wins on the bounce following last week’s 36-10 win against Leeds Rhinos. They have won 17 games from a possible 19 and have only tasted defeat against Catalans and London so far this season.

 

SQUAD NEWS

Warrington Wolves

Steve Price has made three changes to his side following last week’s win. New signing Luther Burrell is brought in to the side as is Tom Lineham, who is returning from a three match suspension. They replace Ben Murdoch-Masilla and Ryan Atkins.

Jack Johnson is also dropped after Price named a 20-man squad last week.

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Burrell could make his professional RL debut a month on from joining the Wolves from rugby union outfit, Northampton Saints.

Warrington 19-man squad: Akauola, Austin, Burrell, Charnley, D Clark, J Clark, Cooper, Currie, Davis, Goodwin, Hill, Hughes, King, Lineham, Mamo, Patton, Philbin, Tasi, Walker.

St Helens

Justin Holbrook has made two forced changes to his side following their win last week. Morgan Knowles and Joesph Paulo are brought in to the 19-man squad. Dropping out are Mark Percival and Zeb Taia, both due to injuries.

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St Helens 19-man squad: Lomax, Makinson, Naiqama, Percival, Grace, Fages, Walmsley, Thompson, Paulo, McCarthy-Scarsbrook, Knowles, Amor, Peyroux, Lees, Ashworth, Smith, Bentley, Coote, Costello.

 

HEAD TO HEAD

The last time these two met, St Helens won comfortably 38-12, with Lachlan Coote scoring 14 points from the kicking tee and putting in a very professional performance.  Warrington showed some fight through Blake Austin but were just not firing at the best.

In the previous five matches, Saints have won four and Warrington one. However, the one Wolves victory came in the play-off semi-final last season, when Tom Lineham scored the winning try with five minutes to go.

Saints have scored 129 points in the last five games against the Wolves, with an average of 25.8 points per game. Warrington have scored just 68 points, with an average of 13.6 per game.

When Saints have ran away with games, Warrington just haven’t been able to cope but when the Wolves win the battle in the middle, they can keep the five-time Grand Final winners quiet. This one will definitely be won up the middle, with the side who can get over the game line going to find the edge.

 

KEY BATTLE

Bryson Goodwin (Warrington Wolves) v Kevin Naiqama (St Helens)

The key battle in this fixture is of the centres. In Warrington’s corner is Bryson Goodwin. The world class player is in his second year at the Wolves and is key down the left wing. With his vast rugby knowledge, he is a modern league back. Although he is 33, he does still cause many issues for defences, therefore he could cause a major difference in this game.

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For St Helens is Kevin Naiqama. The Fijian international joined Justin Hollbrook’s side this year and had an instant impact when he scored on debut. Since then, he has scored 11 tries and has six Man of Steel points. He is one of the fastest players on the park so the Wire will need to make sure he doesn’t break through the line.

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THE IMPORTANT DETAILS

Date: Friday 28th June
Venue: Halliwell Jones Stadium
Kick-off: 7.45pm
Referee: Ben Thaler 

 

WHO WILL WIN?

This match is just too close to call. With the two best sides in the league, this could be the game of the season, a possible Grand Final rehearsal, and with the chance of both teams meeting at Wembley, we could see this fixture at least twice more this year. I feel that the Wire will win this match in golden point by a drop goal.

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