Betfred Super League: Wellens Takes St Helens To Slumping Catalans

World champs St Helens also need a bounce-back win
07:01, 05 May 2023

This Betfred Super League season has already had absolutely everything. St Helens have become world champions but also been brought down a peg by Leeds Rhinos, who themselves have had a rollercoaster start. Castleford Tigers have already lost their coach after three straight losses, there has been controversy on the field with eight-point tries, shoulder charges, late shots and lengthy bans, and Leigh Leopards have started the year with some great performances.

Friday night brings four more belting fixtures as Andy Last makes a claim for the Castleford job, so here is everything you need to know about the evening's slate of action.

Catalans Dragons v St Helens

Where: Stade Gilbert Brutus, Perpignan.

When: 7:45pm (BST), 8:45pm (local)

TV: Sky Sports Arena

Catalans' last five: Lost 14-16 @ Salford (Rd 10), Lost 14-26 @ Huddersfield (Rd 9), Lost 14-20 v Warrington (Rd 8), Won 22-18 v Castleford (Rd 7), Lost 22-32 @ Leeds (Rd 6)

St Helens' last five: Won 28-6 v Warrington (Rd 10), Lost 14-26 @ Hull KR (Rd 9), Lost 6-14 @ Wigan (Rd 8), Won 38-0 v Wakefield (Rd 7), Won 14-12 @ Huddersfield (Rd 6)

Betfred match winner odds (80 minutes): Catalans 21/20, St Helens 4/5, draw 20/1

Odds on a successful drop goal: 9/4


Skipper James Roby will equal Kel Coslett's all-time St Helens appearance record if he plays on Friday, playing his 531st game in the Red V. Meanwhile, his Catalans Dragons counterpart Ben Garcia will make his 200th appearance for Catalans if selected.

Saints' Louie McCarthy-Scarsbrook will supercede Keith Senior to stand in 10th spot on the list of Super League's all-time appearances if he plays in Perpignan. He currently stands level with Senior on 413 games.


Previous meetings:

Round 17, 2022: Catalans Dragons 20, St Helens 18

Round 1, 2022: St Helens 28, Catalans Dragons 8

Grand Final, 2021: Catalans Dragons 10, St Helens 12

Round 23, 2021: Catalans Dragons 31, St Helens 30

Round 18, 2021: St Helens 34, Catalans Dragons 12

Total Super League meetings: 41 (Catalans 16, St Helens 25, no draws)

Catalans head coach Steve McNamara was arguably over-performing in the first five weeks of the season as he led his side to a perfect start despite a number of major injury absentees, but in the five games which have followed they have suffered four losses and really struggled to gain any headway. With Fouad Yaha a long-term absentee and Sam Tomkins playing on with the knee injury which has forced him to announce his impending retirement, the Dragons will be hoping Julien Bousquet and Mitchell Pearce can make successful returns from injury.

Saints could have done without the international break given their excellent return-to-form win over Warrington in Round 10. But Paul Wellens will also have been thankful for his troops getting a breather after a chaotic start to 2023 which saw them also travel to Australia to win the World Club Challenge against Penrith Panthers in February. Jack Welsby returns to club level after being one of the star turns in England's 64-0 demolition of France last Saturday.

Sportsman stat: Since Catalans' elevation to Super League they have never been nilled by St Helens but have twice inflicted such a result on the Saints, beating them 21-0 in 2007 and 42-0 seven years later, both times at the Gilbert Brutus.

Hull Kingston Rovers v Huddersfield Giants

Where: Sewell Group Craven Park, Hull.

When: 8.00pm (BST)

TV: No live screening

Hull KR's last five: Won 12-7 @ Castleford (Rd 10), Won 26-14 v St Helens (Rd 9), Won 40-0 @ Hull FC (Rd 8), Won 20-12 v Leeds (Rd 7), Won 34-6 @ Wakefield (Rd 6)

Huddersfield's last five: Lost 14-20 @ Hull FC (Rd 10), Won 26-14 v Catalans (Rd 9), Lost 17-18 @ Leeds (Rd 8), Won 26-16 @ Salford (Rd 7), Lost 12-14 v St Helens (Rd 6)

Betfred match winner odds (80 minutes): Hull KR 4/6, Huddersfield 5/4, draw 20/1

Handicap betting (Huddersfield +2.5): Hull KR 10/11, Huddersfield 5/6


Hull KR's James Batchelor is one appearance away from 100 in Super League, while Huddersfield's Matty English needs one more to reach the century in all competitions for the Giants.

With three more tries, Jermaine McGillvary will have 250 in his illustrious career.


Previous meetings:

Round 16, 2022: Hull Kingston Rovers 10, Huddersfield Giants 38

Round 2, 2022: Huddersfield Giants 26, Hull Kingston Rovers 12

Round 22, 2021: Huddersfield Giants 40, Hull Kingston Rovers 28

Round 3. 2021: Hull Kingston Rovers 25, Huddersfield Giants 24

Round 14, 2020: Huddersfield Giants 32, Hull Kingston Rovers 22

Total Super League meetings: 32 (Hull KR 10, Huddersfield 19, three draws)

Willie Peters' Rovers side are in their best run of form in Super League history, equalling the five-match winning runs they enjoyed in 2009 and 2013. Having hammered neighbours Hull FC on Good Friday, they have also shown their ability to knock off the best in the business by defeating St Helens in Round 9, then saw off a spirited Castleford in tough conditions a week later. They will have to do without star scrum-half Jordan Abdull for the next six weeks though, with Frankie Halton also unfit to play against Huddersfield.

The Giants, on the other hand, have arguably been the biggest disappointment in the top flight this year. Much was expected of Ian Watson's side, and they might still make a run for the play-offs, but defeats to the likes of Leeds Rhinos and Hull FC in recent weeks have undermined those who tipped Huddersfield to challenge Wigan and St Helens for the League Leaders' Shield.

Sportsman stat: Hull KR have drawn with no team more than Huddersfield in their Super League history, with 24-24 draws in 2008 and 2014 and a 16-16 tie in 2010.

Leeds Rhinos v Salford Red Devils

Where: Headingley Stadium, Leeds.

When: 8.00pm (BST)

TV: No live screening

Leeds' last five: Lost 6-20 @ Leigh (Rd 10), Won 34-10 v Hull FC (Rd 9), Won 18-17 v Huddersfield (Rd 8), Lost 12-20 @ Hull KR (Rd 7), Won 32-22 v Catalans (Rd 6)

Salford's last five: Won 16-14 v Catalans (Rd 10), Won 14-6 v Castleford (Rd 9), Won 22-20 @ Leigh (Rd 8), Lost 16-26 v Huddersfield (Rd 7), Lost 16-20 @ Wigan (Rd 6)

Betfred match winner odds (80 minutes): Leeds 4/9, Salford 19/10, draw 18/1

Handicap betting (Salford +6.5): Leeds 10/11, Salford 5/6


Salford winger Ken Sio is one shy of 250 career appearances, and 150 in English club rugby league. He currently has 88 to his name with the Red Devils and made 61 previously with Hull Kingston Rovers. However, he is an expected absentee after picking up an injury in training this week.


Previous meetings:

Round 22, 2022: Leeds Rhinos 34, Salford Red Devils 14

Round 12, 2022: Salford Red Devils 23, Leeds Rhinos 8

Round 6, 2022: Salford Red Devils 26, Leeds Rhinos 12

Round 15, 2021: Leeds Rhinos 38, Salford Red Devils 16

Round 11, 2021: Salford Red Devils 12, Leeds Rhinos 38

Total Super League meetings: 53 (Leeds 46, Salford 7, no draws)

Rohan Smith just can't seem to get a string of wins together with Leeds despite them looking a more sturdy prospect now than they did in the first couple of weeks of the season. Last time out they were easily beaten by the Leigh Leopards having previously put together promising wins over Huddersfield Giants and Hull FC, and that recent run is typical of the Rhinos' one-step-forward-two-steps-back kind of campaign so far. Smith also has to deal without scrum-half Aidan Sezer, whose injury at Leigh rules him out for the time being.

Salford have a three-game winning run to protect after their hard-fought 16-14 success over Catalans in Round 10, with Paul Rowley's team among a large group of teams fighting it out for supremacy in the race for a play-off spot.

Sportsman stat: Salford have been Leeds' favourite opponents in Super League down the years. Their 46 wins from 53 games against the Red Devils mark the joint-highest number of victories against any opponent, with their record of 46-1-12 against Wakefield coming in a close second. 

Leigh Leopards v Castleford Tigers

Where: Leigh Sports Village, Leigh.

When: 8.00pm (BST)

TV: No live screening

Leigh's last five: Won 20-6 v Leeds (Rd 10), Won 32-0 @ Wakefield (Rd 9), Lost 20-22 v Salford (Rd 8), Lost 6-34 v Wigan (Rd 7), Won 24-16 @ Hull FC (Rd 6)

Castleford's last five: Lost 7-12 v Hull KR (Rd 10), Lost 6-14 @ Salford (Rd 9), Won 16-4 v Wakefield (Rd 8), Lost 18-22 @ Catalans (Rd 7), Lost 0-38 v Warrington (Rd 6)

Betfred match winner odds (80 minutes): Leigh 4/9, Castleford 15/8, draw 20/1

Handicap betting (Castleford +6.5): Leigh 10/11, Castleford 5/6


Adam Milner is in line for his 300th career game for Castleford, while Jacob Miller will reach 250 career appearances if selected.


Previous meetings:

Round 3, 2021: Castleford Tigers 52, Leigh Centurions 16

Round 16, 2017: Leigh Centurions 0, Castleford Tigers 38

Round 1, 2017: Castleford Tigers 44, Leigh Centurions 16

National League 1 - Round 17, 2007: Castleford Tigers 62, Leigh Centurions 10

National League 1 - Round 5, 2007: Leigh Centurions 24, Castleford Tigers 32

Total Super League meetings: 3 (Leigh 0, Castleford 3, no draws)

Adrian Lam's Leopards continue to break new ground in Super League, with their victory over Leeds Rhinos a fortnight ago taking them to within a single win over matching their previous best top-flight season in the summer era. Their adaptation to the division this term has been helped by a new buoyant atmosphere around the club, and a win against Castleford would surely be enough to put to bed any lingering talk of them being dragged into the relegation fight later in the year.

The Tigers, meanwhile, could do with a win to distance themselves from bottom side Wakefield Trinity. Andy Last's appointment as permanent head coach has given them some certainty, but they have shown an inability to turn pressure into points on the field in recent weeks and are averaging just 10 points per game in 2023 to this point.

Sportsman stat: After Hull KR v Leigh, this is the most rarely played Super League encounter of all those being repeated in 2023.

Warrington Wolves v Wakefield Trinity

Where: Halliwell Jones Stadium, Warrington.

When: 8.00pm (BST)

TV: No live screening

Warrington's last five: Lost 6-28 @ St Helens (Rd 10), Lost 6-13 v Wigan (Rd 9), Won 20-14 @ Catalans (Rd 8), Won 34-6 v Hull FC (Rd 7), Won 38-0 @ Castleford (Rd 6)

Wakefield's last five: Lost 6-22 @ Wigan (Rd 10), Lost 0-32 v Leigh (Rd 9), Lost 4-16 @ Castleford (Rd 8), Lost 0-38 @ St Helens (Rd 7), Lost 6-34 v Hull KR (Rd 6)

Betfred match winner odds (80 minutes): Warrington 1/33, Wakefield 11/1, draw 28/1

Handicap betting (Wakefield +25.5): Warrington 4/5, Wakefield 20/21


Josh Drinkwater can make his 200th career appearance on Friday, while his Warrington team-mate Peter Mata'utia needs one more to reach 100 Super League games.


Previous meetings:

Round 15, 2021: Wakefield Trinity 30, Warrington Wolves 24

Round 6, 2022: Warrington Wolves 22, Wakefield Trinity 38

Round 19, 2021: Wakefield Trinity 28, Warrington Wolves 22

Round 9, 2021: Warrington Wolves 38, Wakefield Trinity 18

Round 10, 2020: Warrington Wolves 36, Wakefield Trinity 0

Total Super League meetings: 54 (Warrington 34, Wakefield 20, no draws)

Warrington have the opportunity to get back on the horse after their season-opening eight-game winning run gave way to defeats against Wigan Warriors and St Helens. Darryl Powell was largely pragmatic after those two defeats but a further setback would not go down nearly as well with the former Castleford head coach.

Trinity coach Mark Applegarth will have been delighted to add former Man of Steel Luke Gale to his squad this week following the half-back's transfer from Betfred Championship side Keighley Cougars. However, it will take a lot more than the addition of a 34-year-old scrum-half to arrest a slump which has seen the hapless Wakefield fall to 10 straight defeats in 2023, with five of those games having ended without them scoring a single point.

Sportsman stat: Wakefield have scored 53 points this season compared to Warrington Wolves' top scorer Stefan Ratchford, whose 80 is a 51% greater return.


*18+ | BeGambleAware | Odds Subject to Change

Suggested Searches:
The Sportsman
Manchester United
Manchester City
Premier League
Sportsman HQ
72-76 Cross St
Manchester M2 4JG
We will not ask you to provide any personal information when using The Sportsman website. You may see advertisement banners on the site, and if you choose to visit those websites, you will accept the terms and conditions and privacy policy applicable to those websites. The link below directs you to our Group Privacy Policy, and our Data Protection Officer can be contacted by email at: [email protected]

All original material is Copyright © 2019 by The Sportsman Communications Ltd.
Other material is copyright their respective owners.