Two great games between four very good sides, as you would expect one week before the grand final. It has been an outstanding year and if you refer to our pre-season write up you will see that we have two of our team picks in either side of the draw. The big trick now is to work out how these two games unfold and its not going to be easy.
Semi Final 1. – St Helens vs Catalan – Sky 8.00pm 2nd October
The Dragons have shown some amazing fight to win their two play-off games away from home, against the odds and with just a few friends and family watching who could fit on the plane. Its that kind of atmosphere and hostile environment that can really gel a team and Coach, Laurent Frayssinious has done a tremendous job to get his somewhat temperamental gallic charges all singing form the same hymm sheet. Be under no illusion, beating both Leeds and Huddersfield away from home is an amazing effort and one questions how much that has taken out of them. However adrenalin is an amazing thing and if they keep believing, who knows what might happen.
The Saints were our tip to out perform everyone’s expectations and by winning the league leaders title they have certainly done that. They are the most dynamic and exciting team to watch and fully deserve their plaudits. Coach Nathan Brown is trying to play down their favouritism for this game but the bookies aren’t having it as they are a 2/5 best priced chance and the probability is that they will win and take their rightful place in the grand final.
My only concern with that is some key injuries and them not playing as well as they did at the back end of the season. Walsh, Wilkin and Lomas are big time play makers and none are playing tonight, they have missed them in the last couple of games and so much has been left on the shoulders of the mercurial James Roby. Alex Walmsley, up front has been a big loss but he returns tonight and that will stiffen up the forwards and make running room from dummy half for Roby.
I think they have enough class to get it done but the 2-5 is tight. So we are going to play this one a little differently. I see it as a lot closer game than the bookies have it and were I one of them I would be happy to lay the 5/6 about St Helen winning by more than 10, all day long.
So we will turn that price on its head and enjoy the forwards doing battle knowing that at some stage Morgan Escare will unlock this defence and mean that the Saints will have to score at least 15 for us to lose.
Our Game 2 Semi- Final Preview will be up tomorrow morning.