Saints hatch expansive plan to down Wigan

 

St Helens and Wigan meet for the sixth time this season tonight – and for two clubs striving for an Old Trafford Grand Final it will not feel like too much of a good thing.

Wigan have won two and drawn one in Super League, as well as beating Saints in the Challenge Cup semi-final, but they lost to their old rivals in the first round of the play-offs two weeks ago. There is not a great deal that they don't know about each other.

Saints' coach, Royce Simmons, is on record this season as saying that they cannot beat Wigan by playing them at their own game, although Warrington did precisely that a month ago.

Saints, on the other hand, do not want to get tied into a forward battle down the middle. Quick play-the-balls and expansive ball movement will be their creed. The question then arises of who is best equipped to put the plan into operation. Leon Pryce is fit again for what could be his last game for St Helens, but Lee Gaskell and Jonny Lomax have performed so well together, notably in their last outing against the Warriors, that it would be a brave man who would break up their partnership.

Paul Wellens needs one try to bring up his 200 for the club and there would be few better times to score it.

Wigan answered most of the questions about their resilience and energy levels with their 44-0 thrashing of a strongly-fancied Catalan Dragons side last Sunday. Joel Tomkins is fit, after being withdrawn as a precaution with a leg knock when that match was safely won, while Lee Mossop is also included after missing that game through failing a late fitness test on his hamstring.

The Wigan coach, Michael Maguire, has confirmed, however, that Ben Cross has played his last game for the club, after fracturing his forearm for the second time. He is joining Widnes next season.

Another Wigan player looking towards next season is Amos Roberts, who has played just six games and needs another operation on his knee.

With a back three of Sam Tomkins, Josh Charnley and Pat Richards in such consistently good form, Roberts has hardly been missed this season. He hopes to be fit to try to force his way back into the side early next year.

Tomorrow is devoted to the Championship Grand Finals, with Sheffield Eagles, without the suspended Menzie Yere, playing Featherstone Rovers in the main game. Keighley and Workington meet in the Championship 1 decider, for the right to go up alongside the already promoted Swinton.

Sky Sports 1, 17.30

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

Isis hostage crisis: The prisoner swap has only one purpose for the militants - recognition its Islamic State exists and that foreign nations acknowledge its power

Isis hostage crisis

The prisoner swap has only one purpose for the militants - recognition its Islamic State exists and that foreign nations acknowledge its power, says Robert Fisk
Missing salvage expert who found $50m of sunken treasure before disappearing, tracked down at last

The runaway buccaneers and the ship full of gold

Salvage expert Tommy Thompson found sunken treasure worth millions. Then he vanished... until now
Homeless Veterans appeal: ‘If you’re hard on the world you are hard on yourself’

Homeless Veterans appeal: ‘If you’re hard on the world you are hard on yourself’

Maverick artist Grayson Perry backs our campaign
Assisted Dying Bill: I want to be able to decide about my own death - I want to have control of my life

Assisted Dying Bill: 'I want control of my life'

This week the Assisted Dying Bill is debated in the Lords. Virginia Ironside, who has already made plans for her own self-deliverance, argues that it's time we allowed people a humane, compassionate death
Move over, kale - cabbage is the new rising star

Cabbage is king again

Sophie Morris banishes thoughts of soggy school dinners and turns over a new leaf
11 best winter skin treats

Give your moisturiser a helping hand: 11 best winter skin treats

Get an extra boost of nourishment from one of these hard-working products
Paul Scholes column: The more Jose Mourinho attempts to influence match officials, the more they are likely to ignore him

Paul Scholes column

The more Jose Mourinho attempts to influence match officials, the more they are likely to ignore him
Frank Warren column: No cigar, but pots of money: here come the Cubans

Frank Warren's Ringside

No cigar, but pots of money: here come the Cubans
Isis hostage crisis: Militant group stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

Isis stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

The jihadis are being squeezed militarily and economically, but there is no sign of an implosion, says Patrick Cockburn
Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action

Virtual reality: Seeing is believing

Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action
Homeless Veterans appeal: MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’

Homeless Veterans appeal

MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’ to help
Larry David, Steve Coogan and other comedians share stories of depression in new documentary

Comedians share stories of depression

The director of the new documentary, Kevin Pollak, tells Jessica Barrett how he got them to talk
Has The Archers lost the plot with it's spicy storylines?

Has The Archers lost the plot?

A growing number of listeners are voicing their discontent over the rural soap's spicy storylines; so loudly that even the BBC's director-general seems worried, says Simon Kelner
English Heritage adds 14 post-war office buildings to its protected lists

14 office buildings added to protected lists

Christopher Beanland explores the underrated appeal of these palaces of pen-pushing
Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

Scientists unearthed the cranial fragments from Manot Cave in West Galilee