London Broncos host St Helens as they look to take the scalp of the league leaders for a second time this season at the Trailfinders Sports Ground. Here’s everything you need to know.
TEAM FORM GUIDE
London come into this off the back of disappointing losses to Castleford, Warrington, and Hull FC and sit bottom of the table adrift by two points with a considerably worse points difference.
St Helens are cruising into this week’s clash with a ten-point buffer at the top of the league after a comfortable win against fierce rivals Wigan Warriors last time out.
Danny Ward has made one change to his squad that suffered defeat to Hull FC last time, with Olsi Krasniqi coming in for Ryan Morgan.
London Broncos squad: Abdull, Adebiyi, Battye, Butler, Cunningham, Davis, Dixon, Fleming, Fozard, Gee, Hellewell, Ioane, Kear, Krasniqi, Pitts, Richards, Walker, Williams, Yates.
St Helens have made nine changes since their win over Wigan in preparation for their Challenge Cup semi-final. Danny Richardson, Junior Paulo, Adam Swift, Matty Costello and Joe Batchelor are amongst the changes made by Holbrook, while Jack Welsby will return to the Trailfinders Sports Ground where he struggled in the 23-22 loss to London.
In addition, Josh Eaves, Callum Hazard, Josh Simm, and Lewis Dodd are all included in the 19-man squad for the first time – meaning that Saints will have at least two debutantes in their side this Sunday.
This week’s changes mean that 13 of St Helens’ 19-man squad have been produced in their academy.
St Helens squad: Grace, Richardson, Paulo, McCarthy-Scarsbrook, Knowles, Amor, Peyroux, Swift, Lees, Ashworth, Smith, Bentley, Costello, Batchelor, Eaves, Hazzard, Welsby, Simm, Dodd.
HEAD TO HEAD
St Helens dominate the head to head between the two sides, with London having won just three encounters in the past ten years. This season, however, the ledger is square with one win a piece after St Helens produced a shut out 26-0 victory in March and London clinched a dramatic Golden Point victory in early June.
Ultimately, the key battle in this one is how Saints’ less experienced players get on against a London team that never says die. If Saints build a lead, it’s important they do not switch off and let London come back at them from arguably their most dangerous position to cause another shock victory. On the other hand, it will be very interesting to see if London get an early lead and to see how the less experienced Saints team gets on. The debutantes coming into the Saints side, however, have plenty of quality and London should not take them lightly. Either way, it is shaping up to be a great game.
THE IMPORTANT DETAILS
Venue: Trailfinders Sports Ground
Kick-off: 15:00 BST
Referee: Tom Grant
WHO WILL WIN?
This should be far tighter than their first encounter of the season, but it is hard to see Saints taking London as lightly as they did just over a month ago. Despite the changes, Saints arguably still have the stronger team and should take the two points home as a result. Saints by 8.