. They are the only side with a 100% record in Super League thus far but I tip them to squander that record this week and Stains to return to winning ways, and the ‘Scaff’ shall reverberate and dance to the tune of DER DER DER DER….. ADY GARDNER!
SportingOdds Handicap: St Helens (-8 ), Bradford (+8 ) both at 10/11
My Tip: St Helens by 12
WIGAN V HULL KR
Wigan will be without their inexpensive signing Trent Barrett who has suffered a recurrence of the calf strain which kept him out of the Pies pre-season games. I hope this injury-prone specimen doesn’t strain his biceps this weekend lifting his wallet. He is likely to be replaced at five-eighth by Michael Withers who has pace to burn in situations and is unstoppable when he’s got a 30 metre start on any opposition defenders. Mark Calderwood might make a return to the Wigan squad after being scapegoated by Brian Noble the week before.
Hull KR welcome back Chris Chester from his strained groin but lose Mark O’Neill to a hamstring injury after just the one appearance last week. The youthful Stanley Gene (not to be mistaken for Mikali Aizue who looks exactly the same according to a certain Sky Sports commentator a few weeks ago) is set to make his first appearance of the season.
I tip Wigan to win this game and they ought to win at a canter, not because they are awesome in any shape or form, but simply because Hull KR are crap. Given the form they’ve shown this far, I’m not convinced Wigan will cover the 18 point handicap they’ve been handed though.
SportingOdds Handicap: Wigan (-18 ), Hull KR (+18 ) both at 10/11
My Tip: Wigan by 14
HARLEQUINS V WARRINGTON
Bona fide prop forward and one-season wonder (in 2002) Richard Villasanti is tipped to make his Quins debut this Saturday after only arriving in this country earlier this week and it’ll be cool to see him crack a few ‘Dire’ forwards heads along with his own. Props Daniel Heckenberg and Karl Temata have also been named in the Quins squad along with winger Andy Smith, but Lee Hopkins is out with a cracked rib.
Chris Bridge (hamstring), Adrian Morley (fractured eye socket), Richie Barnett (ankle) and Simon Grix are all missing from the ‘Dire’ squad. I tip the Quins to win this game so that means ‘Dire’ are a shoe-in.
SportingOdds Handicap: Harlequins (+2) at 5/6, Warrington (-2) at EVENS
My Tip: Harlequins by 8.
SALFORD V CATALANS
The entire population of Salford will be gripped with anticipation and excitement down at the Willows this Saturday evening and I feel sorry for all those Salford fans that will be locked out as the ‘full house’ signs go up. Will that 20,000 capacity new stadium they all hanker for be large enough to accommodate all their fans?
Despite taking the Leeds Rhinos to the cleaners last week, Catalans will be counting the cost of losing hooker Aaron Gorrell for the rest of the season. He’ll be sorely missed. I tip Salford to break their duck this weekend but not my much.
SportingOdds Handicap: Salford (-6), Catalans (+6) both at 10/11
My Tip: Salford by 4.
My tip for the attendance: One man and his dog from Salford outnumbered by the SBHBOASA.
LEEDS V HUDDERSFIELD
Another flat-track bully opportunity beckons for the Leeds Rhinos this weekend against cellar-dwellars Huddersfield Giants… not that last week’s flat-track bully opportunity counted for much as Leeds softcock forwards were outplayed by their Catalans counterparts. It was feared that ‘Biscuit Bones’ McGuire might be out injured for some time after fracturing the knuckle of his little finger but he’s since been to the hairdressers, had a good look at himself in the mirror and is happy with his reflection. He’s concluded that he’s fit and so has David Bywater. Diskin returns to the Leeds side after missing the Catalans game.
If Leeds softcock pack can handle Huddersfield’s on Sunday, the backs ought to do the rest and I predict that’s exactly what will happen.
SportingOdds Handicap:Leeds (-14), Huddersfield (+14) both at 10/11
My Tip: Leeds by 20
HULL V WAKEFIELD
Hull select from a full squad this weekend and they’ll be keen to pick up their first win of the season after going down by just the single Lee Briers drop goal away at ‘Dire’ last week. Surely they’ll get off the mark this time around against Wakefield?
Wakefield have won two on the bounce (against Stains and the Mighty Salford) and that’s as good as it gets for them, though John Kear will be keen to put one over on his former employees who sacked him last year. I expect Hull to win but it’ll be amusing if they don’t.
SportingOdds Handicap: Hull (-12), Wakefield (+12) both at 10/11
My Tip: Hull by 14