St. Helens look to maintain their lead at the top of the Betfred Super League table as they face Widnes Vikings in the opening clash of the 2018 Magic Weekend.
Denis Betts’ welcomes back several first-team stars as Joe Mellor, Danny Craven, Patrick Ah Van come into the 19-man squad to take on Justin Holbrook’s side.
Jimmy Keinhorst and Danny Walker also come into the squad as Ed Chamberlain, Jay Chapelhow, Ted Chapelhow, Ryan Ince and Llyod White miss out following last week’s loss to Leeds Rhinos.
Widnes 19-man squad: Ah Van, Albert, Burke, Cahill, Craven, Gerrard, Gilmore, Hanbury, Heremaia, Johnstone, Keinhorst, Leuluai, Marsh, Mellor, Olbison, Runciman, Walker, Whitley, Wilde.
Matty Lees is the only change to Saints 19-man squad as Kyle Amor serves a one-match suspension following last Saturday’s Challenge Cup Clash.
Four points clear at the top of the table, St. Helens are still the side to beat, and last weekend’s victory over Castleford see’s the side come into the game full of momentum.
St. Helens 19-man squad: Lomax, Makinson, Morgan, Percival, Swift, Fages, Smith, Roby, Taia, Wilkin, McCarthy-Scarsbrook, Douglas, Knowles, Thompson, Peyroux, Richardson, Grace, Lees, Barba.
HEAD TO HEAD
As the two sides last met on Easter Monday, it was once again the Ben Barba show. Two assists and a try of his own set the platform for Saints to win 28-6 at the Halton Stadium.
The form sheets show a polar opposite record with Widnes having just one win in their last six games whereas the pacesetters having lost just one. Yet Widnes can take solace in the fact that the highest winning margin against them only stands at 22 points.
KEY BATTLE- Danny Walker v James Roby
The young gun versus the old guard. Whilst both men may not play the full eighty minutes, the time they do spend on the field will be paramount to their side’s chances of winning.
At just 18 years of age, Walker has been a standout performer for the Vikings this season. His livewire performances out of dummy half shadow that of his opposite number.
Whilst the evergreen Roby seems to get better and better, with six try assists and currently leading his side in tackles made his influence on the side continues to grow.
THE IMPORTANT DETAILS
Date: Saturday 19th May
Venue: St. James’ Park
Referee: L. Moore
WHO WILL WIN?