Saints v Warriors - The Winner Takes All!
St Helens v Wigan Warriors - Saturday 18:00 - live on Sky Sports 1
In a repeat of last year's Super League Grand Final, arch enemies St Helens and Wigan will do battle at the Stobart stadium with a place in this year's showpiece final at stake. Saturday's qualifying semi-final will be the sixth meeting of the teams already this season and it could be argued, the most important.
The visitors have the edge, winning three consecutive games against Saints after the pair shared a mesmerising Millennium Magic draw on the opening weekend of the season. One of those victories was the Challenge Cup semi-final at the Halliwell Jones, where Wigan blew away their rivals with a blistering opening salvo that St Helens could never recover from. The match betting for this match is close but Wigan have been given the nod as favourites at 4/6.
The last meeting between the two sides was just a fortnight ago when Saints ran out deserved 26-18 winners at the DW Stadium. It was a victory which helped instil extra confidence into the St Helens camp and gave them home advantage for this week's do-or-die game. Priced at 6/5 to triumph here, the hosts have lost their last two home meetings with their old rivals but will feel fresh and rested from their weekend off and should come out firing.
St Helens head coach Royce Simmons has no fresh injury concerns ahead of the match with Leon Pryce and Gary Wheeler welcomed back into the fold. Paul Wellens needs one try to reach 200 career touchdowns, a feat which would see him move into joint seventh place in the list of all-time St Helens try-scorers.
Centre Joel Tomkins is fit enough to be named in Wigan's 19-man squad and Prop Lee Mossop is also expected to return after aggravating a hamstring injury in last Sunday's warm-up . Widnes bound Ben Cross has suffered a second stress fracture of his broken arm and will be replaced by Eamon O'Carroll.
In what is widely expected to be a tough, tight, bruising affair, the narrow margin of the handicap market comes as no surprise. Set at just two points, St Helens +2 and Wigan -2 are both priced at 10/11.
Over 3,500 Wigan fans will be in attendance to cheer on their team to an Old Trafford return and to become only the fourth team to win the Cup Final/Grand Final, last achieved by their rivals St Helens in 2006.
In what should be a cracking game, I'm going to go for Wigan to exact revenge on Saints for their play-off defeat a fortnight ago, and win by 6-10 points at 5/1.