Scully – It doesn’t get much bigger than Saints v Warrington
It doesn’t get much bigger than St Helens vs Warrington – and that’s what we have in store this Saturday in the Challenge Cup quarter-finals.
Saints kept their 100% winning record since the restart intact, albeit not that convincingly, against Betfred Super League bottom club Hull KR last week – as did the Wolves, who triumphed narrowly over Castleford.
In what was a scrappy game from start to finish, we almost managed to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory after giving away a 20-12 lead in the last six minutes to go into golden point locked at 20-all.
Thankfully, the cool head of the outstanding Theo Fages slotted his first Super League drop-goal to keep Saints joint-top of the table at 72.73%! More about this later….
But first, back to this weekend, and it should be a brilliant game at the AJ Bell Stadium between the top two in the Betfred Super League.
Betfred have Saints odds-on favourites to win the match, but word is that plenty of money is being placed on the Wire to make the semi-finals.
It should be a great battle throughout, with both packs in good form. I’m particularly looking forward to seeing the individual clashes between Walmsley and Cooper, Bentley and Currie, Lomax/Coote and Austin/Rashford – and of course the two most influential players for their respective teams, James Roby and Daryl Clark.
These are the type of games that bring the best out of the top players, and I’m certainly looking forward to it. Both teams will be aiming to win the forward battle upfront, creating quick rucks to allow the flair players time and space to play.
Last week in my column I lauded that Saints were now sat at the top of the Betfred Super League table for the first time this season, and justifiably so.
Well, they were, before being momentarily disposed to Catalans Dragons after the league decided on a percentage win system rather than points gained to determine positions.
I can live with this, as it seems the fairest way to keep a competitive league, amongst the ever-growing threat of the COVID-19 pandemic, from being disrupted.
We have to understand that teams may not be able to fulfil fixtures by no fault of their own. I hope and pray that this is not the case, and everybody involved does everything required to keep safe and reduce the risk of positive test results within the clubs.
Still on COVID, which unfortunately doesn’t seem to be going away, wasn’t it great to see a live crowd back at a Betfred Super League game on Saturday?
Five thousand were in France to watch Catalans vs Wigan – the latter travelling home with a convincing 28-12 victory. I have no doubt they will be right up there challenging both us and the Wolves for Grand Final glory.
After the decision to collate standings by a win percentage, Betfred’s odds on who will triumph in this year’s big one have changed.
Catalans and Castleford have both drifted, to 13/2 and 18/1 respectively – while Leeds, who are now handily-placed in fourth having played two games less than the top three, are 14/1 and Hull FC remain 25/1.
As far as this weekend goes, I fancy Saints to get Challenge Cup revenge on Warrington with a win by more than 10 points – which is 6/4 at Betfred.
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