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Match Preview: St Helens (A) - 17th June 2011 at Stobart Stadium, Widnes
Posted by Bilko on June 16 2011 - 03:32

St Helens v Wigan Warriors - Engage Super League XVI Round 18.
Friday 17th June 2011. Kick Off 8:00pm at Stobart Stadium, Widnes.

Match Preview

If Wigan have got designs on retaining our Super League trophy this year, or indeed winning the Challenge Cup, coach Michael Maguire and his team have got to find the answer to one vital question - why are not putting in 80 minute performances?

A times during games Wigan look like an unstoppable force and show signs of why they are a champion side. Then other times, they don't exactly look poor but they go through the motions and in an attacking sense they may as well get the deckchairs out because nothing happens for long periods.

We witnessed this again at Castleford last week. First half we ground out, in difficult conditions, four good tries to get a healthy 22-4 lead. Second half we probably had two chances. One was Pat's 60 metre dash only to be tackled by the invisible man and the other was Sean O'Loughlin knocking on over the line. Apart from that, very little and in fact I can't recall a single attack in the final quarter of the game.

Same against Harlequins last month. 42-0 in 27 minutes, we were absolutely killing them. After that...........pfft!

Good Friday was another example. We produced a blinding 20 minutes to score 22 points but for 59 minutes it was pretty much us being dominated by Saints. Luckily we still had a minute spare to nick the win in the end.

I know stats can be meaningless but they do point to us losing out between 50 and 70 minutes.

Time of Tries Scored
Minutes - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - Tries %/Spell
0-10 - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - 13 13.8%
11-20 - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - 13 13.8%
21-30 - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - 12 12.7%
31-40 - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - 13 13.8%
41-50 - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - 12 12.7%
51-60 - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - 9 9.5%
61-70 - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - 4 4.2%
71-80 - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - 18 19.1%

That table shows that in the first 50 minutes its good consistent stuff, nice even spread of try scoring. Then you get to 50-70 minutes and bang, we lose out somewhere. Whilst it's good that we are finishing strongly but more often than not we are having to finish strongly because we haven't done enough before that final push.

Last season we had no real drop off in consistency over 80 minutes until the final 10 minutes and without looking into it that was probably because we had games already wrapped up by then.

Who knows why that drop off is happening but consistency over the 80 minutes is key to winning trophies and whilst Wigan are still there or thereabouts this year, we have got to do better I feel.

Now Saints, got to be honest I've been expecting them to take a step back for the last two or three years but despite Paul Sculthorpe then Sean Long and now Keiron Cunningham drifting away, they still continue to compete towards the top of the table.

Question - Is it good that you can have two players who make 23.4% of your teams metres by themselves? You cannot fault the two James', Roby and Graham, they are class acts and losing Graham will be a huge blow to Saints next year, he is irreplaceable. The way those two graft is unbelievable but to me it can leave a negative in the sense that your team mates rely on those two too much perhaps? Take Good Friday. In the time Graham was off the field, St Helens fell apart and it cost them the match.

Now compare that to Wigan. We've been without our number 1 prop, Stuart Fielden, all season but yet we are still on the same points St Helens are, having played a game less. Genuine question to any Saints fan reading this - if James Graham had been out all season so far, do you really believe your side would be in the position it is now in the table? Personally, I don't think so.

The point I'm making here is that whilst Wigan perhaps do not have a unbelievable leading enforcer in the pack, even arguably when Fielden is fit, what we do is make up for that by being a better complete unit. Saints fans love to talk about this big marauding pack they have but genuinely I think if you take just one of Graham or Roby out of it, it begins to look pretty powder puff, as Good Friday proved. We also here at Wigan have backs that will make metres as well and I think that was the difference between the two sides last season  and also the reason why Saints have fell flat in the four in a row Grand Finals they have lost. I'm actually convinced lack of pace in the backs will be their downfall in Super League again this year but we shall see.

As for Friday's game, got to be honest the thought of sitting down for an away derby and going to Widnes for it is taking some getting used to. I think Wigan have got to use this game as a launch pad to step up a gear now. I don't think we've shown anywhere near enough of why we are champions so far this year. I still need convincing that we can repeat that success again. Victory on Friday would be the perfect start towards convincing me that they can do it. This game is going to tell us an awful lot about Wigan this year I think. Let's see how we get on!

19 Man Squads

Wigan
IN:l Sam Tomkins, George Carmont
OUT:l Amos Roberts, Jack Hughes
Full 19: Sam Tomkins, Darrell Goulding, George Carmont, Pat Richards, Paul Deacon, Thomas Leuluai, Michael McIlorum, Andy Coley, Harrison Hansen, Joel Tomkins, Sean O'Loughlin, Paul Prescott, Jeff Lima, Ryan Hoffman, Brett Finch, Lee Mossop, Liam Farrell, Chris Tuson, Josh Charnley.

St Helens
IN:l Francis Meli, Matty Ashurst,
OUT:l Scott Moore, Tom Armstrong
Full 19: Paul Wellens, Michael Shenton, Sia Soliola, Francis Meli, Kyle Eastmond, Josh Perry, James Roby, James Graham, Tony Puletua, Jon Wilkin, Chris Flannery, Louie McCarthy-Scarsbrook, Matty Ashurst, Andrew Dixon, Jonny Lomax, Shaun Magennis, Jamie Foster, Lee Gaskell, Thomas Makinson.

Match Referee

Thierry Alibert (France) - Age 40
First Pro Game: Northern Ford Premiership Match - 2001
First Super League Game: Leeds 46 Huddersfield 8 - 11th July 2008
First Wigan Game: Harlequins 18 Wigan 24 - 28th February 2009

Wigan's Record when this referee is appointed

Wigan have Won 8 and Lost 3 from 11 appointments.
This Season: Won 1 and Lost 2 from 3 appointments.

Video Referee

Phil Bentham (Warrington)

Current Super League XVI League Positions

  Team P W D L F A Diff Pts
3rd Wigan Warriors 16 10 3 3 440 263 +177 23
4th St Helens 17 10 3 4 478 332 +146 23

Super League Team Stats - Averages per Game

- Wigan Saints League Best League Worst
Attack Points per Game 27.5pts

28.1pts

Warrington 37.2pts Wakefield 17.2pts
Defence Pts Agst per Game 16.4pts

19.5pts

Warrington 14.4pts Harlequins 34.8pts
Metres Made per Game 1402m

1493m

St Helens 1493m Wakefield 1202m
Ball Carries per Game 217.4

233

St Helens 233 Crusaders 190.3
Av.Metres per Ball Carry -

-

- -
Tackle Busts per Game 24.4

26.2

Hudds'field 27.9 Wakefield 17.3
Clean Breaks per Game 5.8

5.5

Huddersfield 6 Wakefield 2.9
Offloads per Game 8.5

11.5

Warrington 15.8 Hull KR 7.7
Attacking Kicks per Game 11.5

11.4

Hull FC 13.5 Leeds 10
Kicks in Gen Play per Game 20.1

20.7

Wakefield 22 Leeds 16.9
Dummy Half Runs per Game 40.3

47.4

St Helens 47.4 Hull KR 22.7
Tackles per Game 337.1

306.5

Wigan 337.1 Warrington 282.8
Marker Tackles per Game 50.9

39.4

Wigan 50.9 Leeds 39
Errors per Game 12.3

12.4

Castleford 11

Warrington 15
Penalties Against per Game 7.1

5

St Helens 5 Crusaders 8.8

Individual Player Stats

- Wigan St Helens League Leader
Top Try Scorer Sam Tomkins 13

Jamie Foster 12

Kris Welham 17
Top Goal Scorer Pat Richards 42

Jamie Foster 68

Brett Hodgson 87
Top Points Scorer Pat Richards 120

Jamie Foster 184

Brett Hodgson 218
Top Try Assister Sam Tomkins 8

James Roby 12

Daniel Holdsworth 20
Top Metre Maker Sam Tomkins 2260m

James Roby 3467m

James Roby 3467m
Top Ball Carrier Sam Tomkins 296

James Roby 634

James Roby 634
Top Tackle Buster Sam Tomkins 86

Jonny Lomax 60

Sam Tomkins 86
Top Clean Breaker Sam Tomkins 22

Jamie Foster 12

Sam Tomkins 22
Top Offloader George Carmont 19

James Roby 33

Chris Bailey 44
Top Attacking Kicker Brett Finch 44

Lee Gaskell 47

Danny Brough 124
Top General Kicker Sam Tomkins 87

Lee Gaskell 93

Danny Brough 210
Top DH Runner Mike McIlorum 203

James Roby 525

James Roby 525
Top Tackler Sean O'Loughlin 476

James Roby 682

C.Fitzgibbon 692
Top Marker Tackler Liam Farrell 85

James Roby 93

C.Fitzgibbon 127
Worst Miss Tackler Mike McIlorum 28

Iosia Soliola 35

Stephen Wild 56
Most Errors Josh Charnley 22

Lomax/Gaskell 18

Luke Gale 28
Most Pens Conceded Sean O'Loughlin 17

L.McCarthy-S 9

Michael Witt 21

Super League Era Head to Head Record including Play Offs

Overall Played 53 Wigan 26 Wins St Helens 24 Wins 3 Draws
Away at Saints Played 19 Wigan 8 Wins St Helens 11 Wins 2 Draws

Wigan Form Guide - Last Six Matches - Won 4 Drawn 1 Lost 1

Date Opposition Competition Result Score
12th June Castleford (A) SL 16 Round 17 Draw 22-22
4th June Catalan (A) SL 16 Round 16 Lost 12-20
30th May Hull KR (H) SL 16 Round 15 Won 40-06
22nd May Bradford (A) Challenge Cup R5 Won 26-22
13th May Harlequins (H)

SL 16 Round 14

Won 54-06
8th May Barrow (H) Challenge Cup R4 Won 52-00

St Helens Form Guide - Last Six Matches - Won 1, Drawn 1 Lost 4

Date Opposition Competition Result Score
12th June Bradford (A) SL 16 Round 17 Draw 14-14
3rd June Leeds (H) SL 16 Round 16 Won 42-16
27th May Crusaders (H) SL 16 Round 15 Won 28-12
22nd May Featherstone (H) Challenge Cup R5 Won 70-00
14th May Huddersfield (A) SL 16 Round 14 Lost 18-40
8th May Sheffield (H) Challenge Cup R4 Won 52-26

Ticket Details

SOLD OUT

UK TV Coverage

LIVE COVERAGE Friday 7:30pm
LIVE COVERAGE Friday 7:30pm -
Match Replay Friday Midnight
Match Replay Saturday 4:30am
Match Replay Saturday 6:30am
Match Replay Monday 10:00am

International TV Coverage (All Times Local)

Australia Delay Late Sunday 1:00am Channel Nine -
New Zealand LIVE Saturday Morning 6:30am Sky Sport 2 HD
Middle East LIVE Friday 9pm (Egypt) OSN Sports 1 HD
Poland LIVE Friday 9:00pm Sport Klub -
Serbia LIVE Friday 9:00pm Sport Klub -
Bosnia LIVE Friday 9:00pm Sport Klub -
Montenegro LIVE Friday 9:00pm Sport Klub -

Radio Commentary

102.4 Wish FM - On air from 7:00pm with the pre match "Ger'rum On Side" show followed by full match uninterrupted commentary from 7:55pm with regular Wish FM St Helens commentator Chris Price leading summarisers Mike Bennett and Andy Gregory.

BBC Radio Manchester (95.1FM) - Main commentary game whilst also updating on Salford v Castleford at The Willows and the Yorkshire v Lancashire 20/20 Cricket Match at Headingley.

BBC 5 Live Sports Extra (DAB Digital) - National Radio Coverage on DAB Digital Radios from 7:55pm.

Bilko's Statistical prediction.

The stats suggest a Wigan Win by 2 Points.

Weather Forecast

Rainy Day.

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