OUR new correspondent Kaine Greenwood (@RetroPress) takes a look at Friday night's Super League clash between St Helens and Wakefield. What's he backing?
St Helens v Wakefield Wildcats | Friday 20:00
Wakefield Trinity Wildcats chairman Micheal Carter has expressed his shock at Brian Smith's sudden exit from WF1, stating he was “a little bit stunned”.
If Carter's first response when the former Parramatta Eels coach delivered the news was ‘Good heavens' then mine is more ‘Good Helens!' (Yes, I'm sorry!)
In all honesty, it takes no genius to side with the 13-time champions of the competition over the Wildcats – who only kept their Super League status with a testing 24-16 victory over the Bradford Bulls in what was dubbed a “Million Pound Game”. It wouldn't be a shock to see this reversed at the end of the current campaign but perhaps we can re-visit this a little closer to the time.
There is a reason the Saints look set to start the game a 1/16 favourite – because they should win – but I'm hoping we can concentrate on how they do it.
In 21 ties played over the period between 2006-15 the Langtree Park outfit have been on the right end of the scoreline 18 times, winning by wide margins a number of times: 46-44-40-40 and 34 point gaps among them.
The last time any Wakefield squad travelled away from a fixture on the home territory of Kerion Cunningham's men with the ‘W' was back in 2009, clinging on 22-20 after Paul Wellens missed a late penalty. That result snapped a six-year spell of defeats and hasn't been repeated since.
The four-year-old stadium the 143-year-old club now reside in has seen an aggregate score of 174-50 in the home side's favour meaning the good times seem to transferring with this tie at least.
A fourth-placed finish was as good as it got for Saints overall in 2015 and 2016 needs to set off in some fashion if they wish to improve on that. They currently have a winning 3-0-2 record but none of their points have been picked up in a convincing fashion.
I sense a change of gear, perhaps highlighted by a near full-strength 19 being named, ramping up for tough fixtures with Leeds, Wigan and Widnes ahead after this.
Two red ‘V's will shine bright after this clash in my view, the regular victory sign that is senonimous with Saints' previous successes and the other… the vacancy sign at Rapid Solictors Staduim.
This is pretty much an “all-in” situation we are arriving at all things considered and we either take all the glory or we leave wondering how the cards didn't fall our way. Be good to us St. Helens.
St Helens v Wakefield Wildcats – St Helens -20.5 (4/5 Skybet)
St Helens v Wakefield Wildcats – St Helens to win by 30+ points (6/4 Paddy Power)
St Helens v Wakefield Wildcats – St Helens to win by 51+ points (10/1 Paddy Power)
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