Play-offs Preview: St Helens v Warrington

Only Warrington stand in the way of St Helens reaching a seventh consecutive Super League Grand Final when the teams meet on Saturday night.

Unfortunately for Saints, they’ve lost the last five Grand Finals they’ve appeared in, and that’s a record they’ll be looking to put right.

They gained the edge in this play-off series by winning 28-6 at the Halliwell Jones Stadium a fortnight ago, giving them home advantage in the decisive semi-final.

Although their overall record over the Wolves in Super League is excellent, winning 37 and drawing two of 43 meetings, Warrington have won on their last two trips to St Helens, although the 2011 game was played at Saints’ temporary home at the Stobart Stadium in Widnes.

For Warrington, who have won three of the last four Challenge Cups, it represents a chance for them to reach their first ever Grand Final.

Despite their second placed finish in the league table, the Wolves lack experience in the play-offs, and have won just three play-off games in Super League history – whereas Saints have won four Grand Finals.

The Wolves have a relatively fresh squad, and coach Tony Smith has given Garreth Carvell and Ben Westwood as much time as possible to recover from their respective injuries.

For Saints, Castleford-bound centre Michael Shenton misses out through injury, but there is a return for Chris Flannery.

St Helens: 1. Paul Wellens, 2. Ade Gardner, 4. Sia Soliola, 5. Francis Meli, 6. Lance Hohaia, 7. Jonny Lomax, 8. Josh Perry, 9. James Roby, 10. Louie McCarthy-Scarsbrook, 11. Tony Puletua, 12. Jon Wilkin, 13. Chris Flannery, 14. Anthony Laffranchi, 15. Mark Flanagan, 16. Paul Clough, 17. Gary Wheeler, 19. Andy Dixon, 21. Tommy Makinson, 26. Josh Jones.

Warrington: 1. Brett Hodgson, 2. Chris Riley, 4. Ryan Atkins, 5. Joel Monaghan, 6. Lee Briers, 7. Richie Myler, 8. Adrian Morley, 9. Michael Monaghan, 10. Garreth Carvell, 11. Trent Waterhouse, 12. Ben Westwood, 13. Ben Harrison, 14. Micky Higham, 15. Simon Grix, 16. Paul Wood, 17. Mike Cooper, 19. Stefan Ratchford , 20. Chris Hill, 21. Tyrone McCarthy.

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