Things are looking rough for St Helens as head coach Paul Wellens struggles to rekindle the sort of form that made them world champions against the Penrith Panthers just a few months ago. Injuries have been plentiful but the schedule rests for no-one, as the Saints host the almost-perfect Warrington Wolves, who lost their unbeaten status last week against Wigan and will be looking to stay at the top of the Betfred Super League table.
St Helens vs Warrington Wolves
Where: Totally Wicked Stadium, St Helens
When: Thursday 20th April, 8pm
TV: Sky Sports Arena
Saints’ Last Five: 26-14 Loss vs Hull KR (Round 9), 14-6 Loss vs Wigan (Rivals Round), 38-0 Win vs Wakefield (Round 7), 12-14 Win vs Huddersfield (Round 6), 20-12 Win vs Hull FC (Round 5)
Warrington’s Last Five: 6-13 Loss vs Wigan (Round 9), 14-20 Win vs Catalans (Rivals Round), 34-6 Win vs Hull FC (Round 7), 0-38 vs Castleford (Round 6), 38-20 Win vs Leigh (Round 5)
Betfred Match Winner Odds: St Helens - 8/15, Warrington - 8/5, Tie - 20/1
First Try Scorer Odds: Tommy Makinson - 7/1, Matty Ashton - 9/1, Matt Dufty - 9/1, Jon Bennison - 9/1, Jack Welsby - 10/1
Jack Welsby is set to hit 100 career appearances against Warrington, his 94th game in a Saints jersey.
Matty Russell is one try away from reaching his 100th career try, 33 of those coming for Warrington over two spells.
Warrington 10-12 St Helens (Round 13, 2022)
St Helens 28-2 Warrington (Round 5, 2022)
Warrington 14-24 St Helens (Round 22, 2021)
St Helens 2-6 Warrington (Round 10, 2021)
St Helens 18-20 Warrington (Challenge Cup QF, 2020)
Total Super League Meetings: 72 (54 wins for Saints, 16 for Wire, 2 draws)
One huge boost for St Helens will be the return of Joe Batchelor, with the excellent second-rower proving to be a top tackler and creator from the forward role. The bad news is that Batchelor is the only returnee for the Saints this week, with Curtis Sironen remaining sidelined for even longer. James Bell was fined and Matty Lees was warned by the Match Review Panel for high tackles against Hull KR last week, but the pair should be good to go on Thursday.
Warrington will be heading into this game without key man Paul Vaughan on Thursday night. The Aussie prop forward has been the top metre maker in the league this year and his fine start to the season was rewarded with a long-term deal to remain at the Halliwell Jones, but a hip-drop tackle against Wigan sees him banned for this one.
Both sides are heading into this one after physically challenging defeats, but the games weren’t blow-outs. Wigan may have laid the blueprint of how to defeat Warrington after they dominated Wire for much of the game, but an injury-ridden Saints side will no doubt struggle against such a free-scoring team.
Sportsman Stat: Warrington are set to be the third team that James Roby has played 50+ games against, with Thursday’s game being the 50th appearance, winning 35 times.
18+ | BeGambleAware | Odds Subject To Change