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2003 Match Preview: St Helens (A)
Wigan v Saints Preview. Posted on Thursday, June 05 2003 @ 22:53:39 BST by Bilko

St Helens v Wigan Warriors Tetley's Super League Round 13
Friday 6th June 2003. Kick Off 8:00pm at Knowsley Road
Match Introduction
What do the last eight Wigan v St Helens Super League matches have in common?

Well they've all been won by the home side. That stat alone tells you what a difficult task awaits the Warriors as they make the short journey to Knowsley Road on Friday Night.

The last away win between the sides was almost two years a go. Captain marvel Andy Farrell's drop goal right on half time proved the difference in a fantastic 29-28 win.

The similarities between the two sides this season are their for all to see.

They've both won the same amount of games, drawn the same amount and lost the same.

All that separates them in the table are the two points Saints have had deducted for breaching the salary cap.

They even come into the match in exactly the same form during the last six matches.

A victory will see Wigan open up a four point gap between the clubs. That would be massive although Saints could claim the two points they lost back on appeal.

A loss however and we are hoping Warrington don't rack up the points on Sunday at Wakefield or else we could find ourselves out of the top six and we don't need that especially with Hull and Bradford coming up soon.

It's a fine line which shows how important this match is.

Coach Stuart Raper says "both sides will be fired up for this one".

He added: "All the players will put their bodies on the line. We have the confidence to know we can beat Saints, we are going to have to be top of our game to do it. I don’t think Good Friday will mean a lot, it is a different ground and when you play at Knowsley Road you are playing on a lot smaller pitch and you have to play a different style of game.”

Both sides know they'll need to play 100% if they are to have a chance of winning.

If Saints play like they did at Hull a fortnight a go they'll be murdered. On that night a 30-6 loss flattered them.

But on the other hand they defeated London 62-16 at home not so long a go and they had a pretty good away record as proved in excellent away wins at Hull and Bradford.

How you can go from winning 62-16 one week to being utterly pathetic the next is staggering but that has been St Helens this season.

Which Saints side will turn up on Friday? Who knows?

Wigan are boosted ahead of the game with Craig Smith and Danny Sculthorpe both declaring themselves fit. Kevin Brown and Gareth Hock are also in the squad which sees a couple of tactical changes.

Paul Johnson, who has played centre, scrum half and second row already this season, is switched to the wing with Brett Dallas and Brian Carney being absent. Back in 1999 he was regular winger under John Monie so he's no stranger to the position. Martin Aspinwall replaces Johnson at centre.

Saints have been struggling with just one prop this year in the form of Darren Britt. They have lost players like Sonny Nickle, Vila Matautia, Peter Shiels and David Fairleigh in the past two seasons and simple haven't replaced them.

But they have signed a new prop and he will debut on Friday. 22 year old Keith Mason has signed from Melbourne Storm. The Dewsbury born player was signed by them from Wakefield at the beginning of 2002. He has suffered with injury ever since, making just 4 starts in the NRL.

Fridays match will of course see the Sculthorpe brothers come head to head.

Talking about this both players say they plan to hit each other hard.

Paul Sculthorpe says: "It's great to see him doing so well. But he'll be just another player on Friday. I'll hit him as hard as I hit anybody else, if not a bit harder and he'll probably try to take my head off, like he did last time."

Danny Sculthorpe said: "I love playing against him. I give it that extra 10% so that, if I go round to his house the day after, I can rib him a bit. He probably hits me harder too. We have good crack in the build-up to a game, we just enjoy it."

Let's hope it's Danny doing the ribbing at the end of this one.

I think the match will be tight and it could come down to a drop goal. With Faz on the field I fancy us but it will take one hell of an effort for us to win.

Opposition One to Watch

Paul Sculthorpe

Double man of steel Paul Sculthorpe is once again producing the goods for St Helens.

He leads the way for Saints in try scoring, goal kicking and total points.

He is also their top ball carrier and offloader so he is clearly the dangerman.

If we can stop him playing we'll go someway to stopping Saints.

SQUAD NUMBER: 13
Team News
Wigan St Helens
Wigan are still without Kris Radlinski, while Brett Dallas has a fresh hamstring injury. Craig Smith returns after a five week absence with a knee injury and Danny Sculthorpe is fit despite being taken off injured again Leeds last week. St Helens are set to give a debut to former Wakefield prop forward Keith Mason, their new signing from Melbourne Storm. John Stankevitch is out of action for six weeks while Mark Edmondson remains sidelined. Tommy Martyn and Jason Hooper are still out long term. Paul Newlove makes his 200th Saints appearance.
Team Sheets
Wigan Team
Shaun Briscoe, Paul Johnson, Martin Aspinwall, David Hodgson, Jamie Ainscough, Sean O'Loughlin, Adrian Lam, Terry O'Connor, Terry Newton, Craig Smith, Mick Cassidy, Nick Graham, Andy Farrell.
Subs: Danny Sculthorpe, Mark Smith, Gareth Hock, Kevin Brown.
St Helens Team
Probable: Paul Wellens, Darren Albert, Martin Gleeson, Paul Newlove, Ade Gardner, Paul Sculthorpe, Sean Long, Darren Britt, Keiron Cunningham, Keith Mason, Chris Joynt, Mike Bennett, Darren Smith
Subs: Mick Higham, Barry Ward, Anthony Stewart, Stuart Jones
Match Referee
??
Pre Match Quotes
Wigan St Helens
"All the players will put their bodies on the line. We have the confidence to know we can beat Saints, we are going to have to be top of our game to do it. I don’t think Good Friday will mean a lot, it is a different ground and when you play at Knowsley Road you are playing on a lot smaller pitch and you have to play a different style of game."
Coach Stuart Raper
"People say victory would be a launch pad for the rest of the season but it is a tough game, and both sides will expect to win it. To try and launch your season on the back of this is a negative thing for me, what we need to do at St Helens is play more consistently and perform for more minutes in games. If we do that on Friday I will be very happy."
Saints Coach Ian Millward.
Current League Positions
  Team P W D L F A Diff Pts Form
5 Wigan Warriors 12 6 1 5 288 264 +24 13 L1
6 St Helens* 12 6 1 5 374 210 +164 11 U1

*Deducted two points for breaching salary cap (Subject to appeal).

Opposition Form (Last 6) - St Helens
Date Opposition Competition Result

Score

Match Report
01/06/03 Warrington (A) SL8 Round 12 Draw 30-30 Click Here
26/05/03 Hull FC (A) SL8 Round 11 Lost 6-30 Click Here
16/05/03 London (H) SL8 Round 10 Won 62-16 Click Here
09/05/03 Wakefield (H) SL8 Round 9 Lost 10-16 Click Here
02/05/03 Halifax (A) SL8 Round 8 Won 38-0 Click Here
21/04/03 Warrington (H) SL8 Round 7 Won 56-6 Click Here

Wigan Form (Last 6 all comps most recent game first): LWWWDL

Super League 8 Stats
Top Try Scorers
Wigan:
David Hodgson, Jamie Ainscough & Shaun Briscoe 5
St Helens: Paul Sculthorpe 8

Top Goal Kickers
Wigan:
Danny Tickle 19
St Helens: Paul Sculthorpe 30

Top Points Scorers
Wigan:
Danny Tickle 50
St Helens: Paul Sculthorpe 92
Previous Super League Meetings at Knowsley Road
Date

Result

Match Report

Att

5th Apr 1996 Saints 41 Wigan 26 No Report

----

26th May 1997 Saints 12 Wigan 65 Click Here

10566

10th Apr 1998 Saints 18 Wigan 38 Click Here

11414

20th June 1999 Saints 18 Wigan 24 Click Here

12243

21st Apr 2000 Saints 38 Wigan 14 Click Here

13037

15th Sept 2000 Saints 4 Wigan 42 Click Here

16030

22nd Jun 2001 Saints 28 Wigan 29 Click Here

13830

10th Aug 2001

Saints 30 Wigan 16

Click Here

13571

1st Apr 2002

Saints 19 Wigan 0

Click Here

15100

11th Oct 2002

Play Off Match
Saints 24 Wigan 8

Click Here

15100

SL Record at Knowsley Road: Wigan 5 St Helens 5
Overall Super League Record: Wigan 14 St Helens 10 (1 draw)

Matchday Weather

From bbci.

heavy rain Heavy Rain
Wind: 4mph from the South West.
Temps: Max: 20°C Low: 10°C

Ticket & Ground Details
Ground Ticket - Adult: £13. Concessions: £7.
Main Stand - Adult £18. Concessions £12.
Click for Knowsley Road Ground Guide.
Media Coverage
TV: The match is live on Sky Sports 1 from 7:30pm with the usual commentary team of Eddie Hemmings, Mike Stephenson and Phil Clarke.
Radio: BBC GMR (95.1FM) will have full uninterrupted 80 minute commentary with Trevor Hunt from 8pm during Friday Night Sport.
Internet: There will be online commentary from the BBC @ www.bbc.co.uk/fivelive/sportsextra from 7:45pm.
Additional Information.

Please note that this match is curtain raised by an Under 18s fixture between the two sides that kicks off at 5:45pm.

Opposition Views
Other Links
Saints Official Site
Saints Forum
Prediction
Wigan 23 Saints 22
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