No rest for the wicked…even a Saint!

After that pulsating victory against Warrington, our nearest rivals this season, it’s third placed Hull FC who will now be out to cause an upset.

The KC Stadium is never an easy place to visit, against a side who on their day are capable of anything. That frankly is the million dollar question with Hull, which team will turn up!

Up until last week, they were making a real fist of confirming their place in the top five of the Betfred Super League, before going down to rock-bottom neighbours Hull Kingston Rovers. However, they still remain in third due to their nearest challengers Catalan Dragons going down at the Leeds Rhinos.

The all-Humberside affair was partly a shock result, due to recent performances and the good form of some key players including Jake Connor and Albert Kelly. However, if any game can go against the run of form it’s a derby. Hull KR were always going to come out of the blocks on their home patch and let Hull FC know they would have to earn the win in front of a hostile home crowd. Debutant Matt Parcell grabbing the winning try two minutes from time.

Anyway, back to last week’s main event at the Halliwell Jones Stadium. I have been pondering the comments of both coaches post game, good friends Justin Holbrook and Steve Price.

Holbrook said it was the toughest game he’s been involved in. A big wrap considering his vast experiences in Australia before taking the reigns with the league leaders.

Price however, paid his due respect to both sets of players - stating Saints, who are now a whopping eight clear of their nearest challengers, are a ‘quality team’ and set the benchmark for everyone else. He did however give praise to his own team, who certainly played their part in a fearsome encounter.

It was interesting to see Warrington taking every opportunity to keep the scoreboard ticking over. With Dec Patton kicking the only points in the game up to the 52nd minute with three penalties, rather than backing themselves to score tries. Is this a sign of respect for the Saints defence or not!

Saints however, are certainly not shy in throwing the ball about, but barring Mark Percival’s controversial opening try it was the big men doing the damage. Luke Thompson was quick in cleaning up a Jake Mamo error following a Jonny Lomax bone-cruncher!

Then the outstanding Alex Walmsley sealed the win in the 76th minute with a typical no-nonsense crash over. Both these two have to be the front-row front runners to pull on a Lions jersey come October.

The league’s title sponsors Betfred now have the Saints even clearer favourites for Super League glory at Old Trafford, currently 10/11, with the Wolves 2/1, followed by Wigan 8/1, Hull FC 11/1, Castleford 22/1 and Catalan outsiders at 25/1.

So to Friday, how can I back against the Saints. It won’t be easy, but I expect us to go do a job on the inconsistent hosts. I’m going for a saints win by 12 points (6/4 at Betfred)