In a dress rehearsal for the Challenge Cup final, League Leaders St Helens travel to Warrington for this mouth-watering clash. Here is everything you need to know.
TEAM FORM GUIDE
The Wire come into this match of the back of a 30-10 defeat to Catalans last week. Although still sitting second, the Wolves have had a deterioration in form, as their league form is three wins and five losses in the last eight.
League leaders St Helens come into this one after a 26-6 win over Wakefield, which after this game also confirmed them as back to back league leaders. They have a League form of 21 wins, and 3 losses, with their last defeat coming three weeks ago against London.
Steve Price has made eight changes to his side from last week’s defeat against Catalan. They are Blake Austin (ankle injury), Jack Hughes (injury), Tom Lineham (suspension), Daryl and Jason Clark, Dec Patton, Mike Cooper and Joe Philbin. Replacing them are Riley Dean, Josh Thewlis, Ben Westwood, Danny Walker, Lama Tasi, Luis Johnson and Pat Moran. However, New signing Matty Smith could be in line to make his Wolves debut, after his signing was announced on Tuesday night.
If both Dean and Thewlis play, it would be the first time that two 17-year-old players have played together for Warrington.
Warrington Wolves 18-man squad: Akauola, Burrell, Currie, Davis, Dean, Goodwin, Hill, Johnson, King, Livett, Mamo, Moran, Murdoch-Masila, Ratchford, Tasi, Thewlis, Walker, Westwood
Justin Holbrook has made one change to his side following last week’s win against Wakefield. James Roby drops out and is replaced by Matty Costello.
St Helens 19-man squad: Lomax, Makinson, Naiqama, Percival, Grace, Fages, Richardson, Thompson, Taia, Paulo, McCarthy-Scarsbrook, Amor, Peyroux, Lees, Ashworth, Smith, Bentley, Costello, Welsby
HEAD TO HEAD
The last time these two met, St Helens edged a classic 10-21 back in June. With Alex Walmsley winning the game for St’s in the last few minutes. A penalty goal fest last time round, with only four tries being scored between the two sides.
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 120 points in the last five games against the Wolves, with an average of 24 points per game. Warrington have scored just 67 points, with an average of 13.4 per game.
Chris Hill (Warrington Wolves) v Luke Thompson (St Helens)
The battle this week is of the props. In Warrington’s corner is captain Chris Hill. The beast of a forward has been a constant part of the Wolves this season. With 590 tackles made in 22 games, he is always getting involved in the match. He has also scored three tries so far, including one last time out in his sides 30-10 defeat. He is a modern prop and will always look for the second phase play. With wholesale changes made this week, he could be crucial if the Wire are going to have any chance in this one.
Whilst for Saints is Luke Thompson. The most wanted prop in Super League seems to be going one way and that is constantly on the up. A member of the St Helens power pack, he seems to be a certainty for the GB squad at the end of the year. Although he has made only made 442 tackles so far, which is less than his opposite number, he has scored more tries than Hill with five in 2019 but he hasn’t scored since these sides last met back in June. He will cause major problems in the middle of the park for Warrington and has the same style as the Wolves captain, as he also tries to find the second-phase ball. The Wire will need to keep him under wraps, otherwise it could be a long night in the office for the home side.
THE IMPORTANT DETAILS
Date: Thursday August 8, 2019
Venue: The Halliwell Jones Stadium
Referee: Ben Thaler
WHO WILL WIN?
I believe that St Helens will run riot in this one. With the amount of injuries in the Wolves Side, including the influential Blake Austin, I just can’t see anything but a big win for St’s. St Helens by 30