The final match of the Magic Weekend sees the Super League leaders St Helens in action when they take on the previous winners of the regular campaign prior to them in Castleford Tigers in what should be a fantastic conclusion to a couple of excellent days of rugby.
St Helens can restore their six point lead at the summit of the Super League table with a victory here while Castleford Tigers can will move back into fourth place in the league should they come out on top at Anfield.
There is no doubt that St Helens are currently the best team in Super League, but they are not the champions of it so they have a chance to lay down their title credentials on the big stage here. I expect St Helens to look to take the game to their opponents from the off and get them under pressure so that they can show their extra class over the course of the latter stages of the contest.
Saints have only lost one match this season, although it looked for long periods last week as though they would drop a second one, and amazingly they are averaging almost 35pts per match. That attacking power on a big pitch should make them extremely tough to beat, especially when they back it up with such a wonderful defensive ability too.
Castleford ended a run of three successive defeats when they overcame Leeds Rhinos last week but in truth that isn’t exactly much of a form guide so if they are up against it early on in this match it will be fascinating to see how they cope with it. If they can cope then we know they have points in them with their exciting brand of rugby which should be perfectly suited to this stage.
Castleford carry the third best defence into the match with them and they will need that solidity because they are going to be tested at some point. I would imagine the Tigers will play this like a cup final so if there are points to be had they will look to take them rather than kick for touch and look to put tries on the board.
James Roby returns for the league leaders in this match after missing their win over Salford Red Devils last week. Jack Welsby is the man to make way with no concerns over the fitness of Roby after his injury.
Castleford Tigers coach Daryl Powell brings three men back into his squad for this contest. Will Maher, Chris Clarkson and Daniel Smith will all be given the task of adding muscle up the middle. Nathan Massey and Jesse Sene-Lafao are among the men missing out.
Castleford Tigers have a pretty ordinary record against St Helens it has to be said and I don’t really see any reason why that is going to change here. Admittedly Saints haven’t been at their very best over the last couple of weeks but having James Roby back should help with that so I’m expecting a dominant performance from the league leaders.
Castleford were in a bit of a slump themselves prior to that win over Leeds last week but I need more than that victory to be safe that they have come out the other side. This is a really tough assignment for the Tigers and one which I think they will fail the test in. I’ll take free scoring St Helens to cover 10pts.
WON – Back St Helens (-10) to beat Castleford Tigers for a 4/10 stake at 2.00 with William Hill
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