Last week at Leeds, St Helens went away from home and played the best team in the league and won. It was a must win game or they could have disappeared from the competition. Tonight the roles are reversed and that same pressure applies now to Castleford, who at least are at home.
For coach Daryl Powell this seems a desperate time. Disciplinary issues sees their most explosive scoring asset Justin Carney gone from the set-up and to top that off forward Nathan Massey wont play again this season with injury and the same applies to outstanding centre, Jake Webster. On the plus side talisman Captain, Michael Shenton returns, he may be their best player and utility forward Oliver Holmes is back. So whilst they have covered the losses from the team that went out last week, that team wasn’t good enough to beat Huddersfield and I genuinely think that St Helens are a better side than the Giants. Even at home this is a tough assignment for the tigers.
Coach Cunningham names the same side that defeated Leeds and they looked like the earlier season team last week after their consecutive losses in the Super 8’s. I expect it to be very tough for the Saints as Castelford know what they are playing for but I think St Helens have too many guns for them tonight as the Giants did last week.
These games get tougher for the teams out of the top 8. They are now only playing for pride. Whereas for Wigan they have a top four place to play for that can mean facing the lesser team in the semi’s. With a win in this game they are numerically safe and confirmed in the semi’s so they will be keen to have a strong run out at home. They may well rest a few players next week but this week should be a real work out against a side that are tough up front but don’t pose too much of a scoring threat against decent defences.
Its not easy to take a position in this game with Wigan at 1/50 and the handicap at 32 but our interest will be in Hull. No professional team lies down and I think they will find that handicap line insulting to their pride.