Paul Sculthorpe is back with his weekly column, focusing on St Helens’ final match of the Betfred Super League regular season against Hull FC on Friday night (20:00).

St Helens vs Hull FC Prediction

  • Saints -27.5 (2-Way Handicap) @ 5/6

One thing we never do at Saints is give up – and with 80 minutes of the regular Betfred Super League season remaining, our hopes of retaining the League Leaders’ Shield are still alive.

As has been the case for a few weeks, us, Wigan and Catalans remain on the same points at the head of the table. The Warriors continue to boast a superior points difference, with the Dragons in second and Saints in third. So, barring disaster for either of those sides in their final games on Friday, it looks like we’re going to miss out on a week off and a home semi-final.

That being said, Paul Wellens’ boys look to have the easiest tie, facing Hull FC who have nothing but pride to play for. Wigan will no doubt have a physical tussle with neighbours Leigh in the ‘Battle of the Borough’ at the Leigh Sports Village, while the French side travel to Salford, who are in a battle with Warrington for that sixth and final play-off spot.

If things don’t go our way, it’s likely to be either the Wire or Red Devils in the qualifying round before a trip to Perpignan (if Catalans are indeed successful).

I and the rest of the Saints faithful hope I’m wrong, but I can’t see Wigan slipping up at Leigh, so I’m predicting they will lift the League Leaders’ Shield.

However, I think Catalans are in for a real test against Salford. You never know which side is going to show up, but let’s hope it isn’t last week’s!

Meanwhile, Saints can deal with Hull FC to claim that all-important second spot and therefore, as mentioned before, a week off and home advantage in the semis.

Hull have nothing to play for and their form has fallen off a cliff, so it could get ugly for them at the Totally Wicked on Friday. I’m predicting a huge Saints win, by 28+ points.

Ahead of the final round, Betfred make Wigan and Saints joint 2/1 favourites to win the Grand Final at Old Trafford on October 14.

Catalans are available at 9/4, ahead of Betfred Challenge Cup heroes Leigh (12/1), Hull KR (25/1), Warrington (25/1) and Salford (40/1).

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