THERE’S a Thursday night thriller in prospect this week as Saints travel to Warrington Wolves in the First Utility Super League.
The Champions have just two games left of the ‘regular’ season left before the competition splits in the Super 8s phase – with top spot still up for grabs.
“We knew what this run in would be like, it would be tough, but you could say that with every block of four games we’ve had this season,” Saints Head Coach Keiron Cunningham said. “There hasn’t been an easy ‘block’ this year but with the new format and era every game is almost knock out as the points carry over.
“We do have a tough run in as do a lot of teams and everyone is in with a shout of the top four at the moment.
“The points against Huddersfield were big for us. If results had gone against us we could have been sat fourth or fifth. The comp is that close which is good for spectators and TV but not for coaches! We scraped the victory and it does give us a buffer over Huddersfield.”
A highlight of that 35-34 win was a hat-trick on debut from Adam Quinlan – who only jetted in a few days before the match.
“Adam had a great start and no one would have envisaged what he did,” Keiron added. “He couldn’t believe his luck with his second try so to get three was phenomenal. He is a likeable kid, very unassuming, goes about his business and works hard.
“He fits our structure and I have no doubt he will get better as he gains fitness.”
Saints expect Jon Wilkin to return to the line-up this week – and that will be a big boost for what is expected to be a standout clash in front of the TV cameras.
“Wilko has been immense this year and to get him on the field is important. He is the ultimate competitor and we need that. It is always a gauge of someone’s ability when you want to play with them and I always did. You understand what he brings to the team when he isn’t playing. He is adaptable, can play anywhere on the field and we need his versatility.
“There’s probably never a good time to play Warrington. They are well coached and although they have been up and down – they will admit that – they have been working hard off the field and are entitled to their good luck and recent form as a result. They have gone through a transitional period like us, losing key players and have changed their system.
“They have changed the way they play too; they are a little more down the middle and play with two 9s. It’s no surprise that since Matty Russell has returned at fullback they have won more games.
“Chris Hill has been phenomenal and has to be up there for Man of Steel. He has been superb.”
Tickets for the Thursday’s game at the Halliwell Jones Stadium remain on sale from Saints’ Ticket Office, via 01744 455 052 or online here.