St Helens will be looking to bounce back from their first Super League defeat of the season at Catalans Dragons when they host Warrington Wolves in Friday’s top-of-the table clash.
The Saints were sitting pretty at the summit and boasting a 100 per cent record when they slumped to a 18-10 defeat on a difficult pitch against Steve McNamara’s Dragons in Perpignan last Saturday.
It came the night after Warrington replaced them at the top on points difference thanks to a 48-12 thrashing of London Broncos so the Saints will now be looking to take their place back at the summit when the rivals clash this week.
However, with Wolves triumphing 18-13 in the play-off semi-final on their last visit to the Totally Wicked Stadium in October and bringing over 3,000 travelling fans with them, coach Justin Holbrook does not feel home advantage will count for too much.
He said: “Warrington have been playing well for a number of weeks and they’ve been waiting for a crack at us.”
Wolves’ wingers Josh Charnley and Tom Lineham are in form with nine tries between them from the last two games, but Holbrook feels Blake Austin, who is 16/1 to score the opening try of the game, is the man his Saints’ side need to be most wary of.
He said: “We know the season Blake Austin is having. He’s a pretty special player and he’s been outstanding for them every week.”
Despite Warrington’s win in the last meeting, St Helens have won the three previous games, including the last two meetings at home, leaving them a best-price 8/13 to win on Friday.
Warrington coach Steve Price says he is fearful of taking on “dangerous” opponents as Saints look to respond to their defeat in France, but he is confident given that the players he currently has at his disposal has left him with “a much better team” than last year and they are 7/4 to emulate October’s success.