10 May 2019

THE LOWDOWN: GIANTS VS SAINTS

All the information you need to know ahead of the Giants Challenge Cup tie against St Helens, this Sunday at 6.05pm

The Brief:

Huddersfield Giants start their Challenge Cup campaign at home on Sunday 12th May against St Helens.

Both teams go to battle at the John Smiths Stadium and are just three wins away from Wembley.

Team News: 

The Opposition:

St Helens won the League Leaders Shield for a record sixth time in 2018, having lost four games all season, however, that was the only silverware St Helens won. They were beaten in the Challenge Cup Semi-Final by eventual winners Catalans Dragons 35-16.

They failed to reach the Grand Final after losing 13-18 to Warrington Wolves, as Ben Barba was awarded the Steve Prescott Man of Steel

They lost influential players Ben Barba, Matty Smith, Jon Wilkin in 2018 as well as Ryan Morgan and Ben Simms. Both recruited strongly for the 2019 season, bringing in NRL imports Kevin Naiqama, Joseph Paulo and Lachlan Coote from West Tigers, Cronulla Sharks and North Queensland Cowboys respectively.

Form:

Huddersfield have won two games in the last five. They beat Castleford Tigers 20-18 in a topsy-turvy game but lost to Leeds Rhinos 38-18 on Good Friday. They got back to winning ways on Easter Monday against London Broncos 24-19. But after a tough Easter break Warrington comfortably beat the Giants 50-19, after the Giants went into the break 12-19. Then they narrowly lost 25-26 to Wakefield Trinity as a Ryan Hampshire late penalty proved the difference in a tight affair.

St Helens are in great form this year only losing one game in the last 14 and have won the last five. The last three weeks they beat Hull FC 62-16 on Easter Monday, recorded another big victory against Catalans Dragons 50-14 and last week they beat Hull KR 26-42. Therefore, the Giants will have to be at their very best to progress to the next round.

Key Players:

James Roby

St Helens arguably have the best team in the Super League and have danger men across the park and the Giants will have to be at their very best in attack and defence to limit St Helens attacking threat and defensive steel.

One-man Huddersfield must keep an eye on is James Roby. The 33-year-old has shown no signs of slowing down, Roby who has made over 400 appearances for St Helens is on target for his second Steve Prescott Man of Steel award after putting in some solid displays already this season. He is currently 5th place on 14 points, six points behind Blake Austin and he will want to inspire his team towards victory and boost their chances of a 13th Challenge Cup.

Lee Gaskell

Lee Gaskell hasnโ€™t played for the Giants since the 20-18 victory on the 11th April but is in contention to play his former team on Sunday. In 6 appearances this year Gaskell has four try assists, 443 metres and 25 attacking kicks and will look to start where he left off on Sunday.

You can view his post-match thoughts by clicking here https://www.giantsrl.com/artic...

Key Battles:

Jermaine McGillvary Vs Thomas Makinson

Possibly the two best wingers in the competition will go head-to-head at the John Smiths Stadium, but will England International Star will come out on top?

Makinson who won the Golden Boot award in 2018 has eight tries and 54 tackle busts to his name this year and has made an impressive 1846 metres in 222 carries which is the best in the league. Meanwhile, McGillvary has 12 tries and 61 tackle busts so far and has made 1685 metres in 184 carries. He also has 22 clean breaks which is one behind the leader. It will be a battle of strength, speed and finishing, but who will score the most points on Sunday? 

Suaia Matagi Vs Alex Walmsley

The pack will be pivotal in deciding who will win the game and St Helens have a strong pack containing Alex Walmsley, Luke Thompson, Joseph Paulo and Zeb Tai and Giants will want to match them in strength and intensity.

A Giants pack containing Suaia Matagi, Ukuma Taโ€™ai, Paul Clough and Seb Ikahihifo. Matagi will want to lead the Giants once again having put in a solid display against the Warriors, making 29 tackles and an average gain of 7.18 metres. Walmsley has made 1462 metres in 191 carries compared to Matagiโ€™s 1049 metres in 151 carries and both will want to set the groundwork for the halfbacks. 

Darnell McIntosh Vs Lachlan Coote

The full-back battle will be pivotal as Darnell McIntosh goes against Lachlan Coote. McIntosh has six tries and nine try assists and has gained 1479 metres and 66 tackle busts so far.

Lachlan Coote is hoping he can fill the void left by Ben Barba and will be a key player to watch out for when the two teams go to war. A wealth of experience having played for Penrith Panthers and North Queensland Cowboys, he has five tries this year and 11 try assists. Having made 1204 metres in 182 carries so far this year, Giants will want to stop him in his tracks on Sunday.

Previous Meeting:

St Helens comfortably beat Huddersfield in the previous meeting 12-40 in March 2019 which maintained St Helens 100% record in the league. McGillvary and Jordan Turner scored before the break but the second half was a different story as Saints scored four more tries without reply and the Giants will want to avenge the defeat by booking themselves in the Quarter Final of the Challenge Cup. 

Did You Know?

In 2009, Huddersfield Giants beat St Helens 24-14 in the Challenge Cup, which clinched their first Wembley Final since 1962 with an impressive comeback win against the holders.

Tickets:

You can be the 18th man and help the Giants progress to the next round in this famous Cup. Tickets are priced at ยฃ10 when bought before 12 Noon on Matchday

Get your St Helens tickets for just ยฃ10


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