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Saturdays Really Big Game
Posted by southstander on September 07 2006 - 13:40:19

Key to Victory?
By Matthew Horton

Going to St Helens on Saturday for the big game?

No, not the engage Super League clash.

The big game at Knowsley Road on Saturday is the Junior Academy meeting between the two clubs as second place and a quicker route to the Grand Final is up for grabs.

This is how the table looks at the moment;

P
W
L
D
F
A
Diff
Pts
1 Widnes Vikings
18
18
0
0
686
232
+454
36
2St Helens
19
16
3
0
828
292
+536
32
3Leeds Rhinos
19
16
3
0
758
256
+502
32
4Wigan Warriors
20
14
6
0
780
359
+421
28

Widnes are guaranteed to finish top having not lost a game all season including an opening day victory over the Rhinos way back in April. St Helens three defeats have come home and away at Widnes and by the Rhinos 28-18 at Morley RFC back in July. The Rhinos actually lost 2 out of their first three games, losses away at Widnes (20-28) and Bradford (16-18) sandwiched by a 34-10 victory over Hull FC at Stanningley. The other Rhinos defeat came at Edge Hall Road in June when Wigan were 34-18 winners.

As mentioned the Rhinos and Saints have met already this season back in July when the home side came out 28-18 winners. Tries from SouthStander.com man of the match Wayne Reittie, Jodie Broughton, Gareth Moore, Danny Allan and Joe Howie seeing the Rhinos home on that occasion. Saints fielded a strong side that day and included Ste Tyrer and he contributed 10 points to his teams effort.

There are some interesting things that will affect the selections on Saturday afternoon. Saints also have a Under 21's semi final away at Wigan on Saturday morning and they have to decide which game is more important to them. It could affect who plays in which team, especially Tyrer. Leeds on the other hand have no Under 21's game this weekend and it makes the likes of Kyle Briggs and Mike Ratu available to John Bastian for what will be the third game in 7 days after victories over Warrington and Leigh.

Coach Bastian rested key players on Tuesday night for the 48-10 victory over Leigh, Liam Brown and Paul McShane two notable absentees and the usual starting props of Ben Fawcett and Ben Jones were left on the interchange bench as was Danny Allan. Luke Gale and Ben Kaye were included on Tuesday night to give regular Under 18 players a breather but I expect them not to feature on Saturday afternoon.

So it's a winner takes all situation on Saturday afternoon, for the winners a trip to Widnes and an easier route to the Grand Final. For the losers a probable home game against Hull awaits but with a dangerous Wigan Warriors side lurking in fourth place it makes victory on Saturday even more valuable.

Good luck to all the lads and if you can get to Knowsley Road early on Saturday to give the lads your support kick off is at 3.45pm.

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