Super League Match Preview: Wakefield v St Helens

Date: Friday 6th March

Venue: Belle Vue

Kick-off: 20:00

Wakefield Wildcats 19 man squad:

Joe Arundel, Matt Ashurst, Dean Collis, Pita Godinet, Craig Hall, Danny Kirmond, Ali Lauitiiti ,Reece Lyne, Paul McShane, Jacob Miller, Richard Owen, Lopini Paea, Chris Riley, Matt Ryan, Nick Scruton, Mickael Simon, Daniel Smith, Tim Smith, Danny Washbrook.

St Helens 19 man squad:

Jonny Lomax, Thomas Makinson, Jordan Turner, Adam Swift, Mose Masoe, James Roby, Atelea Vea, Jon Wilkin, Louie McCarthy-Scarsbrook, Alex Walmsley, Mark Flanagan, Lance Hohaia, Mark Percival, Luke Thompson, Greg Richards, Paul Wellens, Joe Greenwood, Matty Dawson, Andre Savelio.

Last ten meetings:

St Helens 40, Wakefield 16 (SLR24, 15/8/14)

Wakefield 16, St Helens 24 (SLR6, 23/3/14)

Wakefield 12, St Helens 26 (SLR25, 18/8/13)

St Helens 52, Wakefield 18 (SLR7, 15/3/13)

Wakefield 33, St Helens 32 (SLR24, 12/8/12)

St Helens 38, Wakefield 12 (SLR13, 4/5/12)

Wakefield 6, St Helens 46 (SLR21, 10/7/11)

St Helens 52, Wakefield 6 (SLR10, 15/4/11)

Wakefield 6, St Helens 50 (SLR23, 25/7/10)

St Helens 22, Wakefield 16 (SLR4, 26/2/10)

Table-topping St Helens will look to extend their 100% record when they travel to Wakefield on Friday night.

The Wildcats lost their own unbeaten record in Super League XX last Sunday, going down heavily away at Widnes and face a tough task against the defending champions.

James Webster’s men have lost just two of their last nine games at Belle Vue, winning six and drawing one. However, they have a poor recent record against Saints, winning just 3 of the sides’ last 17 Super League meetings.

Wakefield are without former Brisbane prop Scott Anderson, who has been ruled out for a number of weeks with a knee injury he sustained in last week’s defeat. Mikael Simon could replace Anderson and is in line to make his first appearance for the Wildcats.

Matty Ashurst returns to Webster’s 19 man squad following an injury that forced him to miss last week’s game. The 25 year-old scored 10 tries in 60 appearances for Saints between 2009 and 2011.

Webster said: “We are fortunate that both Matty Ashurst and Mickael Simon are fit, so they will come into the 19, and we will decide on our starting 17 on Thursday.”

Paul McShane will make his 100th club appearance if he features.

The visitors will be without Kyle Amor and stand off Travis Burns, who were both handed two match bans for dangerous tackles during last week’s win over Castleford.

Luke Walsh still isn’t fully fit and Kieron Cunningham said he doesn’t want to rush the half-back’s recovery; “When he is ready he will be ready. I want him to be ready and stay in there, not be ready and go out and then be ready again and go out again.”

With Burns and Walsh missing, either Lance Hohaia or Paul Wellens will likely partner Jon Wilkin in the halves. Veteran full-back Wellens is just two tries away from 200 for the club.

Jordan Turner returns to the squad after missing out on last week’s victory.

Saints weren’t at their best last week following their World Club Challenge exploits the week before, but still ground out a victory. Despite the absence of Burns and Walsh, they are guaranteed experience and creativity in the halves, as well as Jonnie Lomax and James Roby adding to the attacking flair.

Wakefield will look to Tim Smith to inspire their attacking game, but they came up with 17 errors against Widnes which saw them starved of possession. Those errors were compounded by 28 missed tackles which led to the blowout 58-16 scoreline.

Webster will certainly be looking for a response on Friday night, but Saints’ forward pack can lay the platform for the strike players, so it could be a long night for the home fans.

Prediction: Saints by 24

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