Champions take on Giants at Magic Weekend


The penultimate game of Magic Weekend sees a clash between two sides at a precarious point of their season.

Huddersfield and St Helens, who finished in the top three last year, sit outside the playoff spots as the season approaches the halfway stage and they both will be looking to use this match to kick start their season and push towards the top six.

Last time out:

Starting with St Helens, they made it three wins from four in May with a 13-12 golden point victory over Leeds Rhinos. Lewis Dodd was the hero as he kicked the winning drop goal within the last minute of extra time.

Despite the win, it was a subpar performance from the red V who were held to just two tries despite their opposition suffering three game ending injuries and being reduced to 12 men for the closing minutes. Throughout the match their execution was poor and numerous errors allowed the rhinos to stay in the game.

The giants snapped a four game losing streak with a strong 20-4 victory over the struggling Castleford Tigers. Huddersfield looked to prey on the indiscipline and errors of their opponents and ran in three tries to the tigers one.

Their outside backs were the stars of the show, coming up with all their tries as well as combining to make a number of defensive plays that kept Castleford at bay.

Previous meeting:

St Helens survived a Huddersfield fightback to edge their previous meeting 14-12 with the decisive penalty goal coming off the back of a dubious call for a high shot on Konrad Hurrell.

Saints raced out to a 12-0 lead through first half tries from Hurrell and Tommy Makinson, before Ashton Golding hit back on the stroke of halftime. Makinson extended the saints lead to 8 points with the penalty goal after 50 minutes which the giants were unable to pullback.

Squad news:

St Helens are close to full strength and have been able to welcome back two of their star players in centre Mark Percival and prop Matty Lees.

Huddersfield have made two changes with Adam Milner in contention to make his first start for the giants since his loan move from Castleford and Harvey Livett replaces Sam Halsall.

Key Battle:

The key battle on Sunday is going to be between the big boys in the middle. Both teams have strong, damaging props who will be looking to assert their dominance and get their team on the front foot.

It will be particularly interesting to see England teammates Alex Walmsley and Chris Hill come up against each other. Walmsley is perhaps the most destructive prop in the competition and was the saints best player against Leeds, dragging his side down the pitch in golden point.

While Hill is not quite in the same mould as Walmsley, his experience and guile through the middle make him a perfect leader for a pack filled with youth.

Match Prediction:

As mentioned previously, it is critical that Huddersfield start to string together wins. They currently sit six points from the playoffs and run the risk of being adrift from the top half of the table.

While St Helens are only two points off the play offs, they have lacked the consistency that has underpinned their success for the last four years. Paul Wellens will be desperate to see his side return to previous levels.

For me, I think that St Helens will have too much for the giants on Sunday. Huddersfield have struggled in attack all year and the St Helens still have one of the best defences in the league, conceding just 14 points a game.

While the saints attack has looked stilted at times this year you feel that their spine has enough quality to click at some point soon and start to pile on the points.

Prediction: Saints by 10

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