Despite what the RFL would have you believe with their “Every minute matters” slogan some games are just bigger than others, tonight is one of those occasions. Hull FC travel to St Helens tonight knowing the outcome could have a massive baring on their final league position and their place in the top 4.
Hull will be looking for revenge after losing their last two matches against the Saints but they will not have it easy. Hull have won their last three but Saints have won their last four and were magnificent last week against Castleford. Justin Holbrook’s side did what no other team had done this season and won at Castleford. The Tigers have looked imperious on home turf this season but they were knocked off last week as Saints put in a perfect performance led by a vintage display from James Roby.
The game has become even more important following last night’s result at Belle Vue. Many thought Wakefield’s season was finally petering out but they proved everyone wrong as they hammered Leeds 38-6. That means Chris Chester’s side are breathing down Hull’s neck again but it also paves a potential route to second place as Leeds slipped up. Hull will move to within a point of the Rhinos with a win which would put Brian McDermott’s side under real pressure and they face St Helens next week.
Where will the game be won and lost?
Lee Radford knows what his side have to do to tonight to get a vital win. In the previous two defeats against St Helens their forward pack have got on top of Hull’s which doesn’t happen very often. The weather forecast doesn’t look great and when the two sides met in July it rained and Hull made error after error. That cannot happen again if the Black and Whites are to come away with a win.
Scott Taylor and Liam Watts have been in brilliant form in recent weeks especially in the Challenge Cup Semi Final against Leeds. Radford has challenged his starting front row to get on top early and set a marker down for the rest of the game. If Taylor and Watts can set the platform and Marc Sneyd has a good kicking game on the back of a dominant forward pack Hull may well come away with a vital two points.
Hull have had some good news this week on the injury front. Marc Sneyd and Josh Bowden return after missing last week’s win over Salford and they are now only missing second rower Mark Minichiello.
Saints make one change from last week’s win over Castleford as Tommy Lee drops out and Jake Spedding replaces him.
- Jamie Shaul, 2. Mahe Fonua, 3. Carlos Tuimavave, 4. Josh Griffin, 5. Fetuli Talanoa, 6. Albert Kelly, 7. Marc Sneyd, 8. Scott Taylor, 9. Danny Houghton, 10. Liam Watts, 13. Gareth Ellis, 14. Jake Connor, 15. Chris Green, 16. Jordan Thompson, 17. Danny Washbrook, 19. Steve Michaels, 21. Sika Manu, 22. Josh Bowden, 28. Brad Fash
St Helens: 1. Jonny Lomax, 2. Tommy Makinson, 3. Ryan Morgan, 4. Mark Percival, 6. Theo Fages, 7. Matty Smith, 8. Alex Walmsley, 9. James Roby, 10. Kyle Amor, 12. Jon Wilkin, 13. Louie McCarthy-Scarsbrook, 16. Luke Thompson, 18. Dominique Peyroux, 20. Morgan Knowles, 24. Danny Richardson, 26. Jake Spedding, 28. Regan Grace, 32. Matty Lees, 36. Zeb Taia