ROYCE Simmons is expecting nothing less than the usual tough, blockbusting and intensive clash when Saints take on Wigan Warriors this Friday.
The old rivals have been involved in two tight matches already this season and ‘Round Three’ looks just as close.
And, as both sides had players backing up at the weekend and have had a five-day preparation period for the game, that should level out the contest and ensure the fans are enthralled with an epic contest.
“Quite simply, you have two of the best sides in the world playing each other and we are closely matched,” Simmons said. “You see that with the great rivalries over the years. Teams battle though the 70s, 80s and 90s and hook into each other. It usually goes down to the last ten minutes and we know it is likely to happen again.
“Our first game finished 16-16 and there were shots from the sidelines and drop goal attempts. The second one they scored with 30 seconds to go. It shows how intensive the games are and how important it is for us to play for the full 80 minutes.
“We lost our way for 10 minutes in that match after losing Paul Wellens and Gary Wheeler and they scored, then we settled again, got in front and they pipped us at the end. In games like this every tackle you make is a potential try saver. Sometimes you can get away with missing a tackle but you can’t in these big matches.”
Saints expect to have Francis Meli back in the centres, but have doubts over Josh Perry who has a problem at the top of his hamstring.
But Shaun Magennis and Matty Ashurst will come back into the reckoning after being rested on Sunday.
“Paul Clough is continuing his rehab too and is taking part in contact sessions,” Royce continues. “Leon Pryce is now running curves which is a good sign too. We’ve had a minor setback with Gary Wheeler which might put him back a week or two but James Roby came through the match at Odsal ok.
“He was courageous in that match. The numbness was still there but it’s important he won’t be going into that first tackle in the Wigan game worrying about the injury.”
Tickets for the match are still on sale at the Saints Superstore in St Helens Town Centre, by calling 01744 455 052 or by logging on to www.saintssuperstore.com