Unbeaten St Helens welcome a inconsistent Hull KR side to The Totally Wicked Stadium. Here’s everything you need to know.
TEAM FORM GUIDE
St Helens are currently seven from seven. Saints have been strong all season but were yet to put a complete performance in until last week. They completely dominated Castleford in every department and showed the rest of the league that they are definitely the team to beat.
Hull KR have been very hit and miss this season. They have put in some impressive performances such as winning away to Wakefield but have followed this up with some poor performances. They need to get some consistency if they are to have any success this season.
If it isn’t broke then don’t fix it is Justin Holbrook’s philosophy so once again he goes with an unchanged squad.
However, he may be tempted to protect James Roby in a game where they are expected to win so Aaron Smith could start for Saints.
St Helens 19-man squad: Lomax, Makinson, Naqaima, Percival, Grace, Fages, Walmsley, Roby, Thompson, Taia, Paulo, McCarthy-Scarsbrook, Knowles, Amor, Peyroux, Lees, Ashworth, Smith, Coote.
Hull KR have been decimated by injuries in recent weeks but the trio of Ben Crooks, Mitch Garbutt and Kane Linnett are included in the squad.
Danny McGuire has not been named in the initial 19 man squad but Tim Sheens says he could feature and will decide on his fitness during their captain’s run on Thursday.
Hull KR 19-man squad: Hall, Crooks, Keinhorst, Shaw, Lunt, Masoe, Tomkins, Hauraki, Garbutt, Lee, Atkin, Vaivai, Addy, Lawler, Linnett, Drinkwater, Oakes, Rooks, Bardle.
HEAD TO HEAD
St Helens have won the last five matches between the two teams with Hull KR’s last win coming in March 2015. They also have not won away at Saints since March 2013.
Morgan Knowles (St Helens) vs George Lawler (Hull KR)
Usually players who are in key positions such as full back or half back are picked for the key battle. However this week, I have gone for two players who are very similar and both have going under the radar, which they have in common with each other.
A lot of plaudits this season have gone to St Helens’ prop forwards but their back row is equally important and Welsh international Knowles is at the heart of that. Week in week out, he will get 40+ tackles a game. He’s not the biggest but he is very strong, especially in making metres after contact. He also has the ability of being a ball playing loose-forward and linking up with Theo Fages or Jonny Lomax. Justin Holbrook rates him very highly and there is a possible future Saints captain in there.
Just like Knowles, George Lawler can play at either hooker or in the back row. He also gets through a tonne of work and is one of the league’s under-rated players. He missed most of last season after sustaining an injury against St Helens early last year but has started the season brightly. He can count himself unlucky not to be in the England Knights squad that was named this week.
THE IMPORTANT DETAILS
Date: Friday 29th March
Venue: Totally Wicked Stadium
Referee: Tom Grant
WHO WILL WIN?
I really can’t see anything but a Saints win. It will just be damage limitation for Hull KR but I reckon it could be a 40+ points win.