SL Preview: Bradford v St Helens

St Helens travel to Bradford Bulls this Saturday looking to find some consistent form under new coach Nathan Brown.

A home draw last week against Hull FC followed on the back of a violent win over Widnes the week before. A home hammering by Huddersfield Giants on the first day of the season has also not yet been forgotten by fans.

Bradford though look resurgent under the coaching of Francis Cummins, and are trying to bring the good times back to Odsal. A good display and a convincing win over Castleford Tigers last Saturday showed that the Bulls can turn it on against teams from the lower end of the table, though Saints will be a different kind of test.

Nick Scruton is free to play for the Bulls after he escaped a ban at this week’s disciplinary meeting. Michael Platt misses out with a knee injury.

Saints former England international full-back Paul Wellens is out for the next three weeks or so with a calf injury, which means Gary Wheeler comes into the 19.

Bradford’s veteran centre or back-rower Chev Walker needs only one try for a career century, while Jamie Langley is looking for two points to take his total to 150 for the Bulls.

St Helens 19-man squad: Gardner, Turner, Soliola, Meli, Lomax, Roby, Louie McCarthy-Scarsbrook, Puletua, Wilkin, Manu, Laffranchi, Flanagan, Gary Wheeler, Josh Jones, Gaskell, Makinson, Greenwood, Walmsley, Walker

Bradford Bulls 19-man squad: Kearney, Lulia, Blythe, Kear, Sammut, Scruton, L’Estrange, Manuokafoa, Whitehead, Langley, Diskin, Walker, Olbison, Foster, Addy, O’Brien, Donaldson, Murphy, Sidlow.

Prediction: This is a tough one to call, with Bradford improving under Francis Cummins. Saints are also struggling for consistent form. The Bulls will win this one by six to 10 points, and put down a real marker for the campaign.

Super League summary:

Bradford won 21 (includes wins in 1999, 2002 and 2005 play-offs)
St Helens won 25 (includes wins in 1999 and 2002 Grand Finals & 1998 play-offs)
1 draw
Bradford highest score. 64-24 (H, 2004) (Widest margin. 54-8, H, 2004)
St Helens highest score. 66-4 (A, 2005) (also widest margin)

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