It is first versus second in the Super League on Friday night when leaders St Helens head to Warrington looking for a fourth win in the last five meetings against the Wolves.
Another triumph for the Saints will leave them with one hand and a few fingers on the League Leaders’ Shield but Warrington’s new weapon throw a spanner in the works.
Warrington to win @ 23/20
St Helens have set a cracking pace at the top of Super League this season, winning 17 of 19 matches, scoring more points than anyone else and conceding the fewest. They have responded well since their shock loss to London three weeks ago, brushing aside Huddersfield Giants and Leeds Rhinos in subsequent matches.
They now sit six points clear of Warrington, who have done well to stay on their coat tails, winning six of their last eight Super League matches. At the Halliwell Jones Stadium, they have been fairly formidable, conceding just 10 points in their last two matches on home soil against Catalans and Wakefield, while hitting 30 in each of those games.
However, St Helens have won on their last two trips to Warrington and got the better of the Wire in the reverse fixture at Langtree Park earlier in the season, running out 38-12 winners following a strong second half display.
St Helens are clearly flying but need to maintain their momentum having seen their season come off the rails at the midway point in 2018, eventually losing to Warrington in the play-offs.
They could come unstuck again on Friday night with the Wolves having shown the defensive nous to shut teams down this term, while Daryl Clark’s return from injury has boosted their rear-guard.
Warrington’s options have also been bolstered by the arrival of rugby union convert Luther Burrell, who is set to make his debut. The former England centre could be the missing piece of the puzzle for Steve Price’s side as they seek to finally get over the line and claim a first Super League title this season.
Warrington to win by 1-12 points @ 9/4
Friday’s clash could be a preview of October’s Grand Final if the two sides stay on track so it’s a chance for one of them to claim a psychological advantage.
April’s meeting aside, these encounters tend to be tight and with both defences so strong there is unlikely to be much separating the two sides come the final hooter.
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