Could the Saints smash Wire this evening? Ok ‘Smash’ may be a little optimistic for a team currently 9th and looking less than ‘Grand Final’, but Warrington have been so poor recently it wouldn’t surprise anyone.
Matty Smith makes his first appearance for Saints this season.
Stefan Ratchford is back for Warrington, in place of Tom Lineham who is suspended. Ryan Atkins is injured and Toby King replaces him.
St Helens: Kyle Amor, Jack Ashworth, Luke Douglas, Theo Fages, Tommy Lee, Tommy Makinson, Louie McCarthy-Scarsbrook, Ryan Morgan, Jack Owens, Mark Percival, Dominique Peyroux, Greg Richards, James Roby, Matty Smith, Adam Swift, Zeb Taia, Adam Walker, Alex Walmsley, Jon Wilkin.
Warrington Wolves: Kevin Brown, Daryl Clark, Mike Cooper, Dominic Crosby, Brad Dwyer, Rhys Evans, Kurt Gidley, Chris Hill, Jack Hughes, Jack Johnson, Toby King, Harvey Livett, Joe Philbin, Stefan Ratchford, Matthew Russell, Andre Savelio, Ashton Sims, Joe Westerman, Ben Westwood.
Matty Smith and Stefan Ratchford. Different positions, but both important, not just for this game, but for the rest of the season. Ratchford is a timely addition to a Warrington side looking for their first win of the season.
Consistency is required for Saints, can Matty Smith provide it?
Ratchford offers something a bit different for Warrington – flair. They’ve been far too predictable recently.
Neither side currently looks like grand finalists, so the pressure’s on these two players to help turn things around. As is the case with any good player returning to an underperforming team.
Last five league games: St Helens WLLLW, Warrington LLLLL
Top try scores: Mark Percival (St Helens) 4; Tom Lineham (Warrington) 4
Top Goal scorers: Mark Percival (St Helens) 10; Declan Patton (Warrington) 5
Neither Tom Lineham or Declan Patton feature for Warrington.
Kieron Cunningham has had his critics since taking the role as head coach, but he’s showing signs of rising to the task. He spoke about “anxiety”, after their defeat to Hull, but the players put the criticism into practice against Catalans, held their nerve and won the game. Surely that’s a sign of good coaching and man management.
Can they back up their away win against the Catalans and beat the Wolves?
There’s no form to speak of for Warrington, they’ve had a baffling start to the season. There are further disruptions to the team this week, they’re now playing with no recognised wingers. We could see them start the game with four full-backs in Johnson, Gidley, Ratchford and Russell, all theoretically playing out of position as Ratchford will play full-back, but it’s not really his natural position. It may sound confused, but it has worked for them in the past, Tony Smith likes versatility in his players.
Maybe versitility works when things are going well but when they’re not it’s down to recognising your faults and addressing the basics of the game.
Kieron Cunningham may be at the other end of the spectrum to Tony Smith, in terms of trophies and experience as a coach, but maybe Tony could learn something from him.
St Helens will continue to keep it simple and relaxed when in possession and will probably win the game against a confused looking Warrington team.