Leeds Rhinos will find out their opponent in the Grand Final when St Helens play host to Salford Red Devils in the second Super League semi-final on Saturday afternoon in what is a straight fight to Old Trafford.
Saints topped the regular table to achieve home advantage in this semi-final but they will have watched on and seen Wigan lose at home on Friday night. That will be music to the ears of Salford in what is a repeat of the 2019 Grand Final.
Where to watch
The match will be shown live and in full on both subscription and terrestrial TV. It will be on Channel 4 and the Sky Sports Arena channels with the build-up on both beginning at 12.30pm and kick off at the Totally Wicked Stadium coming at 1pm.
The champions St Helens are two wins away from a fourth successive Super League title and they will be aiming for the win which will get them to Old Trafford in what is the last home game for head coach Kristian Wolff before he heads back to Australia at the end of the year. St Helens know exactly what is needed to win these semi-final contests and so they know they will need to play a clean game of rugby, particularly against a side who carry plenty of danger.
For all that St Helens topped the table and are the number one seeds in the play-offs, they enter the knockout series with just four wins from their last seven matches so they haven’t exactly flown home ahead of this match. They have had two weeks off to take stock of where they are, get a free bruises seen to and come up with a plan to get the win here and book their fourth straight trip to Old Trafford a week from now.
Salford Red Devils
The same can’t be said of the Salford Red Devils. They flew home from the halfway mark of the campaign and entered the play-offs in excellent form. They showed that immediately last week when they went to Huddersfield Giants and were absolutely dominant. They dominated the match so much that they didn’t concede a single point and in the end they were able to take their foot off the gas and save something for this week.
The beauty of Salford is their entertaining style. They have never shied away from that nor have they tried to hide it and the longer the season has gone on the better they have got offensively and the stronger they have got defensively. Many will claim they have nothing to lose in this semi-final because it is an achievement for them to be here but they won’t think that. They will head to St Helens believing they can win, not least because they thrashed them 44-12 seven weeks ago.
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St Helens have confirmed they will be without Alex Walmsley for this semi-final but they will be able to call on the services of Mark Percival and Sione Mata’utia. Will Hopoate will miss this match but could be available for the final if Saints get there.
Salford Red Devils have suffered a major blow ahead of the semi-final with influential playmaker Brodie Croft ruled out after he failed a HIA last week. That will leave a big hole in the halves for Salford to fill but they have a full squad apart from that.
This should be another cracking semi-final because we have a clash of styles here. We have the defensively tight and resolute St Helens side against the flamboyant, risk taking, exciting Salford Red Devils and it will be interesting to see which style comes out on top. My hunch is that it will be the visitors but there is no way I can back them without Brodie Croft but I wouldn’t want to oppose them with the form they are in at the minute.
Instead I’ll play the same market I played in the Salford game last week which is for the first scoring play to be a penalty. You can get 6/1 on St Helens to open the scoring with a penalty and 13/2 for Salford to do it. The Red Devils opened their comfortable win last week from the boot of Marc Sneyd and in a tight and tense semi-final I expect teams to take all the points that are available to them. This is a match which could easily start cagey and the longer there is no try the better the chance of a team kicking a two to get the lead. I fancy a penalty to open the score again here.
Back St Helens Penalty – First Scoring Play for a 1/10 stake at 7.00 with Bet365
Back Salford Red Devils Penalty – First Scoring Play for a 1/10 stake at 7.50 with Betfair