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Match Preview: St Helens (N) - 12th February 2011 @ Millennium Stadium, Cardiff
Posted by Bilko on February 10 2011 - 20:42

St Helens v Wigan Warriors - Engage Super League XVI Round 1.
Saturday 12th February 2011. Kick Off 7:00pm at Millennium Stadium, Cardiff.

Match Preview

Ah, that record is so much better sung live by the late, great, Freddie Mercury. Must admit I normally hate pre season but I enjoyed this one, basking in title glory smugness. And whether it was first team or Under 20s, they all banged the same tune on the pitch. Defence, defence, defence then pounce when they got the chance in attack.

It's great to be smug supporters of the title holding side. I recall Good Friday in 2007 being in the old Walkabout down King Street. Obviously we were playing Saints and they at the time were champions. I was in there with Hogan and a few others and we decided to block out the misery of the certain to follow derby defeat by getting blind drunk. I remember distinctly two Saints fans (they know who they were!) standing their looking very smug. "I remember we used to get drunk like that when we were rubbish" or words to that affect. Well now our time has come to be smug - and it's great!

I mean think back to just 2008 when Saints met Wigan at a Cardiff Magic Weekend. For me, that day was, by far, the worst day of my Wigan Rugby League supporting life. We all walked round like zombies, totally dumbstruck by the first half performance which saw us trail 35-0! Ominously that was the same half time score as the 75-0 victory they had but in the end 57-16 still hurt. I remember getting a taxi back to the nearby hotel and we ducked down in that taxi to hide from the laughing of another Saints fan we knew.

Those experiences though make the winning all the better and I'm glad I went through them. The biggest thing about being champions is we can no longer have that "your not famous anymore" crap chanted at us. It's great isn't it.

It would be nice on Saturday if Wigan produce a top draw performance to eradicate that evil memory of magic weekend 2008. I wouldn't be surprised if it happens to tell the truth. Certainly don't expect us to pump Saints heavily but comparing the two sides at the moment, I'm not sure Saints are ready to take on the challenge of Wigan.

Those fools who suggest that Wigan will have one eye on World Club Challenge should have been at our friendly against Warrington last week. That wasn't a Wigan side with it's eye on things to come. It was fully focused, defensively stong and looking ripe to rip into St Helens this weekend.

Now granted I didn't see Saints play against Huddersfield but a 36-12 defeat, despite being given 10 more penalties than the opposition is pretty ominous. Then they lose new coach Royce Simmons for most of this week, he returned home due to a severe illness in his family. So it's hard to see how they could have rectified their defensive struggles. They also conceded 20 points to Widnes as well in pre season.

Saints fans are already flapping after news that Leon Pryce will miss Saturday's game with a groin injury. Now I don't think he's that great a loss to them because I don't, and have never, seen him as a consistent half back leader. When you read that Jonny Lomax is the potential replacement though, not really going to put the shits up the Wigan side is he? It shows you how much has changed between the clubs in the last year or two.

The absence of Pryce also heaps huge pressure on the returning Kyle Eastmond, who played just 32 minutes (as planned) in the match against Huddersfield. You have to question his fitness. Will Eastmond even last the full game? Even if he does it's a huge ask to expect him to open up and dominate Wigan so soon into his comeback. Who else will do it?

All that worry just suggests that we will be a facing a Saints side not quite ready for the challenge. Wigan in comparison have no such worries except how to fit players in. I was asked earlier if it was looking like Joel Tomkins would play centre and my response went something like this.....

"Well it depends if they play Sam at Full Back or Stand Off.. Because if Sam plays Full Back with Deacon at Stand Off, I'd guess Amos would move to the wing. Then Carmont would move to centre I'd assume, leaving Joel without a centre spot if Gleeson plays as well. Unless he drops Darrell Goulding for Amos Roberts....."

It's a big conundrum but the best thing about is that personally I couldn't give a stuff what he does. All options look good to me. We certainly have more than enough to offset the losses of both Pat Richards and Stuart Fielden and for those reasons I can only see a Wigan win. Saints will have to play unbelievably out of their skins both offensively and defensively to beat us I reckon, because these days Wigan do not go into games with a half arsed attitude. We'll be at our best and even Saints at their best, that still may not be enough for them!

Even if we suffer what I would consider a shock loss, just remember that five years ago this weekend our season started with a 38-30 loss away to Catalans Dragons. We all know what followed, just two wins in our next 17 league games! We've come a hell of a long way in five years.....let's enjoy it! :)

19 Man Squads

Wigan
IN:l Jeff Lima, Ryan Hoffman, Lee Mossop, Stefan Marsh, Josh Charnley
OUT:l Pat Richards, Stuart Fielden, Amos Roberts, Mark Riddell, Iafeta Paleaaesina.
Full 19: Sam Tomkins, Darrell Goulding, Martin Gleeson, George Carmont, Paul Deacon, Thomas Leuluai, Michael McIlorum, Andy Coley, Harrison Hansen, Joel Tomkins, Sean O'Loughlin, Paul Prescott, Jeff Lima, Ryan Hoffman, Lee Mossop, Liam Farrell, Chris Tuson, Stefan Marsh, Josh Charnley*.

*Amos Roberts withdrew from the squad after it was announced, replaced by Josh Charnley.

St Helens
IN:l Michael Shenton, Kyle Eastmond, Louie McCarthy- Scarsbrook, Scott Moore, Gary Wheeler
OUT:l Matt Gidley, Keiron Cunningham, Byrn Hargreaves, Jacob Emmitt, Matty Smith
Full 19: Paul Wellens, Ade Gardner, Michael Shenton, Sia Soliola, Francis Meli, Kyle Eastmond, James Roby, James Graham, Tony Puletua, Jon Wilkin, Chris Flannery, Scott Moore, Louie McCarthy-Scarsbrook, Paul Clough, Gary Wheeler, Matty Ashurst, Andrew Dixon, Jonny Lomax, Jamie Foster

Opposition Connections

None.

Match Referee

Richard Silverwood (Dewsbury) - Age 34
First Pro Game: York v Batley - March 28th 1999
First Super League Game: Halifax 30 Salford 18 - May 6th 2001
First Wigan Game: Wakefield 14 Wigan 30 - May 1st 2002

Wigan's Record when this referee is appointed

Wigan have Won 30 and Lost 12 from 42 appointments.

Video Referee

Ian Smith (Oldham)

Current Super League XVI League Positions

  Team P W D L F A Diff Pts
10th St Helens 0 0 0 0 0 0 - 0
13th Wigan Warriors 0 0 0 0 0 0 - 0

Super League Era Head to Head Record

Overall Played 52 Wigan 25 Wins St Helens 24 Wins 3 Draws

Wigan Form Guide - Last Six Matches - Won 5 Lost 1

Date Opposition Competition Result Score
2nd February Warrington (A) Pre Season Won 24-18
16th January Salford (A) Pre Season Won 30-24
2nd October St Helens (N)

SL 15 Grand Final

Won 22-10
25th September Leeds (A) SL 15 Play Off Won 26-06
17th September Hull KR (H) SL15 Play Off Won 42-18
12th September Leeds (H) SL 15 Play Off Lost 26-27

Wigan 2011 League Away Record
Played 0: Won 0 and Lost 0 (Ranked: n/a) - 0% Win Rate.

St Helens Form Guide - Last Six Matches - Won 4 Lost 2

Date Opposition Competition Result Score
31st January Huddersfield (H) Pre Season Lost 12-36
23rd January Widnes (A) Pre Season Won 52-20
2nd October Wigan (N) SL 15 Grand Final Lost 10-22
24th September Huddersfield (H) SL15 Play Off Won 42-22
10th September Warrington (H) SL15 Play Off Won 28-12
4th September Castleford (H) SL15 Round 27 Won 40-30
21st August Crusaders (A) SL15 Round 26 Won 36-10

St Helens 2011 League Away Record
Played 0: Won 0 and Lost 0 (Ranked: n/a) - 0% Win Rate.

Previous Meetings at Millennium Stadium, Cardiff

Date Opposition Report
15th May 2004 Wigan 16 St Helens 32 (CC Final) Click Here
5th May 2007 Wigan Warriors 18 St Helens 34 Click Here
4th May 2008 Wigan Warriors 16 St Helens 57 Click Here

This time in the past.......

5lyearslago:l Wigan began the 2006 season with a trip to Perpignan to take on the new Catalan Dragons side, who were playing their first ever competitive match in Super League. Despite debut tries for Iafeta Paleaaesina and Pat Richards, Wigan collapsed to a 38-30 defeat.
10lyearslago:l

Ironically ten years ago this weekend Wigan were playing St Helens in what was a repeat of the previous season's Grand Final. Saints had won the Grand Final and won the replay as well, a 22-8 Challenge Cup Round 4 victory at Knowsley Road. Gary Connolly scored Wigan's only try in a forgettable performance.

25lyearslago:l Wigan travelled to Workington Football Club for a Challenge Cup Round 1 tie against Workington. It was a pretty comfortable afternoon with tries from Nick Du Toit (2), Henderson Gill (2), Phil Stott (2), Graeme West (2), Steve Ella, Ellery Hanley, Shaun Edwards and Ian Lucas contributing to a final score of 56-12, that was flattered by Wigan converting just 3 of the 12 tries.
50lyearslago:l More Challenge Cup Round 1 action, this time a trip to Headingley to take on Leeds. A try from Geoff Bootle helped Wigan earn a replay in a 5-5 draw. Wigan won the replay 32-7 at Central Park four days later.
75lyearslago:l Wigan suffered a home loss against Liverpool Stanley.
100lyearslago:l Wigan could not return from the long trip to Hull with the spoils, going down 20-8.

Hot Scoring Streaks

  • No hot streaks at the moment. Too early in the season.

Cold Scoring Streaks

  • Paul Prescott holds the clubs current longest cold streak having now not scored a try in 71 appearances since an away trip to Hull Kingston Rovers in September 2007.
  • Lee Mossop has not scored a try in 17 appearances since the opening day of last season against Crusaders,
  • Paul Deacon has not scored a try in any of his last 12 tries since he scored his only Wigan try against Salford on 11th April 2010.

  • Sean O'Loughlin has not scored a try in 10 appearances since scoring against Salford on 9th July 2010.

Ticket Details

Contact RFL

UK TV Coverage

Live Coverage Saturday 6:55pm
Live Coverage Saturday 6:55pm

Highlights Monday 11:35pm
Note: Their are no replay broadcasts of this game on Sky Sports.

International TV Coveraga (All Times Local)

Middle East LIVE Saturday 10:00pm (UAE) Show Sports 1 HD
New Zealand LIVE Sunday Morning 8:00am Sky Sport 3 HD
Poland Delayed Saturday 10:00pm Sport Klub -
Russia/Ukraine Delayed Saturday 0:30am NTV Sport -

Radio Commentary

Station Type FM Freq. DAB - Online Link
BBC 5 Live Extra National n/a YES Full Match Click Here
BBC Manchester Local 95.1 YES Full Match Click Here
Wish FM Local 102.4 NO Full Match Click Here

Bilko's Statistical prediction.

They say nothing until at least one match is played.

Weather Forecast

Match being played indoors.

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