Super League: St Helens vs Hull FC and Castleford Tigers vs Leeds Rhinos talking points and team news

We look ahead to Friday’s live Super League match between St Helens and Hull FC on Sky Sports, as well as Castleford Tigers’ home game against Leeds Rhinos…

Saints look for response after first loss

Having suffered their first defeat of the season away to Catalans Dragons last Saturday, St Helens are back on home soil as they take on Hull FC in Friday’s live match.

Saints will once again have their vocal, if still limited due to Covid-19 regulations, support behind them for the visit of the Black and Whites after welcoming back 4,000 for the win at home to Salford Red Devils just under two weeks ago.


St Helens vs Hull FC

May 28, 2021, 7:30pm

Live on

The back-to-back champions know success is expected by the St Helens faithful and former player Mark Flanagan, who will be at the match as guest pundit for Sky Sports, believes that helps set the mentality in the squad.

“I fed off it a little bit when I was there,” Flanagan told Sky Sports. “I knew that was the expectation from the fans and that there was no option apart from winning and doing my best every day.

“It sets expectations for players, but if you have that right mentality and ambitious nature it will bring the best out of you and there are so many players in that squad who are quality players.”

St Helens will be without Regan Grace after the winger suffered a concussion in the defeat to Catalans, which means head coach Kristian Woolf is set to hand up-and-coming youngster Josh Simm his second appearance of the season.

Woolf felt his side were way below their usual standards in the 20-16 loss in Perpignan and expects to see a response from his side against Hull FC.

“Good teams respond really positively after a disappointment like that and I have got no doubt whatsoever that we will respond really well,” Woolf said.

Hodgson not contemplating Cup semi-final

Friday’s match is the first of back-to-back meetings between Hull and St Helens, with the two going head-to-head for a place at Wembley in the Challenge Cup semi-finals in just over one week’s time.

Head coach Brett Hodgson is not looking any further ahead than the Super League meeting, though, particularly with his side aiming to build on their dogged 18-12 win over Leeds Rhinos on Sunday evening.

The quick turnaround for the visitors means it has been a light week at training, but Hodgson is confident they are well placed to tackle Saints providing they keep their focus on this game.

“The fact is, if we take our eyes off this weekend, then that’s when injuries happen and that’s when form slumps, so we’ve got to make sure we’re ready to go on Friday night,” Hodgson said.

“Saints are not unbeatable, and they have weaknesses like every team which we will be looking to exploit.”

Like opposite number Woolf, Hodgson has made just one change to his squad from the previous week after recalling Josh Bowden following his recovery from injury.

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Meanwhile, Carlos Tuimavave is expecting to face a backlash from St Helens as they aim to rebound from losing their unbeaten record against Catalans.

“Playing anybody after a loss, they are definitely going to turn up the week after and prove the doubters wrong, so it’s going to be a tough game,” Tuimavave said.

Named squads

St Helens: Lachlan Coote, Kevin Naiqama, Mark Percival, Jonny Lomax, Theo Fages, Alex Walmsley, James Roby, Joel Thompson, Morgan Knowles, Sione Mata’utia, Louie McCarthy-Scarsbrook, Kyle Amor, Agnatius Paasi, Jack Welsby, Aaron Smith, Joe Batchelor, Lewis Dodd, Josh Simm, Dan Norman, Ben Davies, Sam Royle.

Hull FC: Jake Connor, Bureta Faraimo, Carlos Tuimavave, Josh Griffin, Mahe Fonua, Josh Reynolds, Marc Sneyd, Danny Houghton, Chris Satae, Andre Savelio, Manu Ma’u, Ligi Sao, Jordan Johnstone, Joe Cator, Jordan Lane, Brad Fash, Ben McNamara, Jack Brown, Adam Swift, Josh Bowden, Cameron Scott.

Castleford Tigers vs Leeds Rhinos (7.45pm)

Daryl Powell welcomes back several key players as Castleford aim to bounce back from last week’s defeat when they welcome Leeds to the Mend-A-Hose Jungle.

The Tigers were beaten 38-14 away to Warrington last Saturday, but have influential prop Liam Watts back from suspension while Peter Mata’utia, Cheyse Blair and Jacques O’Neill are set to return from injury.

Head coach Powell felt the enforced changes to the side affected them against the Wolves, but is optimistic those returning players will make a difference with some big games coming up for Castleford.

“We looked a bit clunky as you would expect with so many positional changes, but at the end of the day we have bigger battles to fight and two big weeks ahead of us,” Powell said.

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“We have Leeds and then Warrington again in a Challenge Cup semi-final so we will regroup quickly, hopefully get some of the boys back and will be a semblance of the team we know we can be.”

Rhinos head coach Richard Agar is set to stick with the same team which was beaten by Hull FC last Sunday after naming an unchanged 21-man squad for the trip to Castleford.

He also revealed Harry Newman has suffered a setback in his recovery from a broken leg after a scan showed it had not sufficiently healed, putting the 21-year-old centre’s return date back by at least another six weeks.

“It’s such a big, traumatic injury,” Agar said. “It’s disappointing in the short term but we’ve said all along it’s about the bigger picture.

Leeds Rhinos Head Coach Richard Agar gave an injury update on @England_RL centre Harry Newman at his weekly press conference today

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“He’s such a brilliant talent with so much of his career in front of him.”

Named squads

Castleford Tigers: Derrell Olpherts, Peter Mata’utia, Michael Shenton, Jake Trueman, Danny Richardson, Liam Watts, Paul McShane, Oliver Holmes, Cheyse Blair, Nathan Massey, George Griffin, Jacques O’Neill, Tyla Hepi, James Clare, Jesse Sene-Lefao, Daniel Smith, Greg Eden, Suaia Matagi, Jordan Turner, Lewis Peachey, Brad Martin.

Leeds Rhinos: Tom Briscoe, Konrad Hurrell, Ash Handley, Luke Gale, Mikolaj Oledzki, Kruise Leeming, Matt Prior, Alex Mellor, Rhyse Martin, Zane Tetevano, Brad Dwyer, Liam Sutcliffe, Richie Myler, King Vuniyayawa, Bodene Thompson, Sam Walters, James Donaldson, Jarrod O’Connor, Jack Broadbent, Morgan Gannon.

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