Ladies Game Preview
If you can’t make your way over the Pennines to Wakefield on Sunday, then I’d urge you to make your way to Ruskin Drive (2.30pm) for the St. Helens Ladies first ever Super League game versus York City Knights. It’s a great chance to be part of a historic occasion which, had the god of fixtures been kinder, we would have attended. Admission is £2 for adults and free for under 16’s.
It has been interesting seeing the build-up via the Saints website and on social media. Saints have published a video with captain Tara Jones previewing the game and players have been tweeting about their preparations – one such example is England international Faye Gaskin tweeting that Germany international Brad Billsborough has been assisting with her kicking game. It all feeds into the community spirit and inclusiveness that Mens team Head Coach Justin Holbrook has brought to the club.
As we said on the Redvee TV preview show – we’d love to see Saints play on a Saturday or a Sunday with the Womens team kicking off proceedings in a double header at the Totally Wicked Stadium, to really promote the game.
Womens Head Coach Mark Brennan will choose his 17 from: Carys Marsh, Chantelle Crowl, Charlotte Hill, Dawn Taylor, Emily Rudge, Faye Gaskin, Isabelle Rudge, Katie-May Williams, Leah Burke, Lizzie Gladman, Naomi Williams, Philippa Birchall, Rachel Yeates, Rebecca Rotherham, Roxy Mura, Sarah Lovejoy, Tara Jones (captain), Vicky Whitfield and Zoe Harris.
Good luck Ladies!
Every week I seemingly write that Saints are visiting another bogey ground. And while Belle Vue is always the scene of a tough challenge, Saints have not lost to Wakefield there since 2012, when Trinity won by a single point.
After a few close losses, Wakefield will be looking to get back to winning ways on Sunday (3.00pm). They welcome back Liam Finn, Scott Grix, Chris Annakin and Anthony England, this quartet replace James Batchelor, Max Jowitt, Pauli Pauli and Ryan Hampshire. Notably Wakefield are also missing powerful forward David Fifita.
Your Saints have been given a few days off and hopefully will comeback refreshed after a gruelling Easter. Ben Barba should return after overcoming a virus, but captain James Roby will sit out this week (at least) with a rib injury – his place as captain is expected to be taken by Jon Wilkin. Roby’s place in the squad has been taken by highly rated youngster Matty Costello. Costello been described as ‘a natural footballer’ by Justin Holbrook, who is quoted as saying that:
“In the Academy he’s played full back, wing, centre and stand-off. I love that versatility in his game and he runs as hard as anyone.”
“We aren’t sure of his position yet so we are looking forward to seeing him play…to see where he fits.”
Whether he fits into the Saints 17 may depend on the fitness of Jonny Lomax. Rumours have hit social media about Lomax having a potential shoulder injury. Hopefully Lomax can overcome this, but if not Theo Fages should keep his place after a good display against Hull last time out. Matty Smith has the chance to stake a claim for a regular spot in the Saints 17 by deputising for James Roby. While we shouldn’t expect to see the scoots from dummy half, Smith will provide leadership, distribution and his kicking game which could be vital for Saints. I’m sure that Saints other reserve hookers – Josh Eaves (on loan at Whitehaven) and Aaron Smith (on loan at York) are both eager to impress in case an opportunity should come their way in the near future.
Saints: 1. Jonny Lomax, 2. Tommy Makinson, 3. Ryan Morgan, 4. Mark Percival, 6. Theo Fages, 7. Matty Smith, 10. Kyle Amor, 11. Zeb Taia, 12. Jon Wilkin, 13. Louie McCarthy-Scarsbrook, 14. Luke Douglas, 15. Morgan Knowles, 16. Luke Thompson, 17. Dom Peyroux, 18. Danny Richardson, 19. Regan Grace, 20. Matty Lees, 23. Ben Barba, 30. Matty Costello.
Wakefield: 1. Scott Grix, 2. Tom Johnstone, 3. Bill Tupou, 4. Reece Lyne, 5. Ben Jones-Bishop, 6. Jacob Miller, 7. Liam Finn, 9. Kyle Wood, 10. Anthony England, 11. Matthew Ashurst, 12. Daniel Kirmond, 13. Tyler Randell, 14. Justin Horo, 16. Tinirau Arona, 17. Craig Huby, 18. Joseph Arundel, 20. Keegan Hirst, 22. Jordan Baldwinson, 23. Christopher Annakin.
Referee: G Hewer