Saints Match Preview
Posted on Tuesday, July 30 2002 @ 01:17:36 BST by
Wigan coach Stuart Raper will delay naming his team for
the big derby against St Helens until an hour before kick off in the hope
that three players facing fitness tests will be fit for the game.
But is this just mind games from Mr Raper?
Wigan Warriors v St Helens
Tetleys Super League Round 18 at JJB Stadium.
Tuesday 30th July 2002. Kick Off 8:05pm
Previously postponed from July 12th because of the GB v
Australia Test Match.
Meet the Saints
Well before last weeks game against
Widnes, Raper named Terry Newton in the starting line up after saying he would
be rested, but didn't play him on the day, so it could be just mind games.
The club say that Front Row forwards
Terry Newton and Terry O'Connor (foot) will undergo late fitness tests, along
with back rower Dave Furner ahead of the big clash.
With Andy Farrell, Kris Radlinski,
Paul Johnson, Brett Dallas, Brian Carney and Sean O'Loughlin all definitely out
it is going to take one hell of an effort to beat a Saints team in red hot form.
Sean Briscoe, who made his Super League debut a
fortnight ago, reserve scrum-half
Luke Robinson and forward
Stuart Jones have all been drafted into the
Saints, are going for an 11th
straight win to draw level with leaders Bradford Bulls and are virtually at full
strength, with stand-off Tommy Martyn and second rower John Stankevitch
returning from injury and illness.
Their only long-term casualty is Tim
Jonkers, although hooker Keiron Cunningham is a serious doubt after suffering a
recurrence of a bicep injury against Halifax.
Wigan coach Stuart Raper said:
"Obviously with the injury situation, we'll go in there as underdogs but we've
been there before and it doesn't bother us,"
"It's not ideal but I've got to say the guys who are
training have got their minds on the job and even the ones who are injured want
to play," said Raper.
"I'm not contemplating losing, I've prepared my side to
win. They're keen to play and whoever pulls a Wigan short on will do the club
proud. I've got every faith in all the players in my squad.
"St Helens won't underestimate us. If they come in too
confident, they could be in for a shock. But I don't think they will because
they know it's a derby."
The situation is reminiscent of April's Challenge Cup
final in Edinburgh, where St Helens were hot favourites to retain the trophy
against an out-of-sorts Wigan side with illness and injury worries.
beaten 19-0 by Saints in the opening derby
fixture four weeks earlier, turned the tables to
triumph 21-12 at Murrayfield and Ian Millward's
men are no doubt still smarting from that shock.
But Saints have lost only one of 12 League games since
then and have come to regard the JJB Stadium as their second home.
Although they lost twice to their derby hosts towards
the end of last season, they have lost just one of their previous three League
matches there and have twice won Cup semi-finals at the JJB Stadium.
They also have the chance to open up a seven-point gap
on their arch rivals, which would effectively rule Wigan out of a top-two
Saints Player to Watch.
Tommy by all accounts is having a poor season but he is
still a player that can cause Wigan problems.
Of course there are many other Saints players to watch
like Paul Sculthorpe and Keiron Cunningham but Tommy always seems to put in
a top performance against Wigan.
One bit of magic from him swung the first league game
between the sides, Saints way, so he has got to be controlled.
Wigan - Wigan coach Stuart Raper will delay
naming his squad until an hour before kick off in the hope that Terry Newton,
Terry O'Connor and Dave Furner, who face fitness tests, will be fit for the
Team: (probable) Connolly, Ainscough, Wild, Hodgson, Aspinwall, O'Neill, Lam,
O'Connor, Newton, C Smith, Tickle, Cassidy, Furner.
Subs: Bibey, Howard, Briscoe, M Smith.
Saints - Saints are virtually at full strength,
with stand-off Tommy Martyn and second rower John Stankevitch returning from
injury and illness. Their only long-term casualty is Tim Jonkers, although
hooker Keiron Cunningham is a serious doubt after suffering a recurrence of a
bicep injury against Halifax.
Team: Wellens, Albert, Gleeson, Newlove, Stewart, Martyn, Long, Britt,
Cunningham, Shiels, Joynt, Bennett, Sculthorpe.
Subs: Hoppe, Ward, Nickle, Edmonson.
Kick Off at the JJB is 8:05pm
TV: Sky Sports 3
Radio: BBC GMR (full match)
Internet: via the BBC. See
Internet section for details.
Match Day Weather
The mini Heat Wave is over. Light rain showers are expected during a mostly
Temp: High: 18°C Low: 9°C
Wind: From the Northwest at 11 mph
Click Here to visit the Saints Fanzine site on our
Note: Weather: Heavy Rain along with Thunder and Lightning in Wigan as