I’m sure it will be a case of ‘same again fellas’ as we take on Hull FC once more at the MKM Stadium, on the west side of the city

This Betfred Super League tie follows Saturday’s Betfred Challenge Cup quarter-final win over Tony Smith’s men.

Thursday 8pm, Hull FC vs St Helens, MKM Stadium, 8pm.

If the result is again in favour of the champions, it will see Saints take third place in the league table and only two points behind leaders Catalan and second-placed Warrington. Albeit this may be temporary, if either Salford or Leigh win this week; however, Saints do have a game in hand and a far superior points difference.

It will no doubt be another tough encounter on Thursday, as our coach Wello made clear after the game that the team had to really grind out the win against the 12 men of Hull.

Centre Josh Griffin saw the red card after the halftime hooter, for some sort of obscenity directed at the official. Rightly so, something our sport just won’t tolerate. The number of players across the league who don’t seem to care about their ill-discipline and sitting out suspensions baffles me. In Sunday’s Challenge Cup games, we saw two more red cards for moments of madness, that will no doubt result in hefty bans.

One guy who escaped a ban was Hull forward Brad Fash, after what looked like a clear shoulder to the head of Mark Percival. Percy left the field with a HIA, and couldn’t get back on so will miss Thursday’s game with the return to play protocols. This clearly looked to me like a second effort force which clearly hit the mark.

Another Saints star unlikely to play this week is Tommy Makinson. Tommy left the field with a hamstring injury. Let’s hope it is not a significant tear and he will be back sooner rather than later.

Two players who will be playing and have been in outstanding form of late are Agnatius Paasi and James Bell. Paasi has been devastating in the last couple of weeks and has really helped get the team playing on the from foot. Bell has frankly been equally impressive thus far.

A player who can play a variety of positions and styles, James has shown his ability to play smart with the ball but also do the tough stuff when required. He showed some great running lines off Jonny Lomax to cross the whitewash and seal the win three minutes from time.

Thursday will no doubt be another tough encounter and the champions continue to chase down those early-season lost points. If they show the attitude and application of previous weeks I can’t see anything other than another win. I’m going for Saints by 12 points or more which is 11/10 with title sponsors Betfred.

So, as we forget about the Betfred Challenge Cup now for a few weeks, knowing it will be the Leigh Leopards that stand between a return to the iconic Wembley and a chance to lift the Challenge Cup for only the second time since my last-ever game in 2008.

Leigh certainly won’t be a pushover having withstood a gusty quarter-final display from Championship side York Knights.

Saints have definitely hit form at the right time and unsurprisingly are favourites to lift the historic trophy come August – and indeed those folk at Betfred have us 10/11 favourites.

 

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