Can Huddersfield stop the Saints?

That situation comes as a result of the Carnegie World Club Challenge – that will see Saints will take on NRL Premiers Brisbane Broncos – which this fixture has been brought forward to accommodate.

Until recently it was tradition for the previous year’s Grand Finalists to take each other on in the opening round, which always meant some intriguing games.

But, despite that practice coming to an end, this meeting of last year’s Challenge Cup finalists is no less intriguing, with many questions to be asked of how the sides will fare over the coming weeks and months.

Huddersfield’s new pack – a necessity for coach Jon Sharp who thought his side the lightest in the engage Super League – could not have faced a tougher test in their first game together.

Whether new signings Darrell Griffin and John Skandalis, along with Eorl Crabtree, can help the Giants will be a question on the minds of most fans, while Keith Mason missing the clash through suspension will no doubt be a blow.

The Giants will be hoping to offer more than just a big pack however, with the likes of Brad Drew, Chris Thorman, Robbie Paul and returnee Ryan Hudson adding some skill to the team’s make-up.

Meanwhile the question for Saints will be: after such dominance last season, can they be that good again?

While it’s hard to believe that the men from Knowsley Road could actually improve on 2006, there is nothing to suggest any weakening to the side; the level of consistency in the squad will put them in good stead.

The only major change has been the loss of Jamie Lyon, replaced by Matt Gidley; and we will all be anxious to find out whether the new man can replace Lyon as a star of the St Helens side.

If anything will derail the Saints it will be the loss of Willie Talau through suspension, and both reigning Man of Steel Paul Wellens and captain Paul Sculthorpe through injury.

The likelihood is that a squad with the strength in depth of Saints’ will be able to shake off such losses, but the influence of Wellens at full-back should not be underestimated and could prove crucial.

And don’t forget that the Giants came up with a win the last time Saints were at the Galpharm; so at this point nothing is certain.   

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