Cunningham predicts toughest comp ever

Huddersfield Giants' Leroy Cudjoe goes over for a try past St Helens' Josh Jone during last season's meeting at Langtree Park
Huddersfield Giants' Leroy Cudjoe goes over for a try past St Helens' Josh Jone during last season's meeting at Langtree Park
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Every point will be like gold dust as clubs battle for Grand Final glory in Super League XXI.

Keiron Cunningham - head coach of six-times title winners St Helens - is predicting the toughest competition ever and some disappointing faces once the top eight split is reached.

Cunningham, in his second full season at the helm, said: ‘’ No teams will be a pushover and there will be no bankers.

‘’Every club has recruited well and those who in the past you could almost guarantee a win against are just as likely to turn you over as anyone else.

The Saints’ boss, insisting every single point will be valuable, added: ‘’Initially,we are all fighting for a top eight spot and as 12 doesn’t fit into eight and something will have to give.’’

Saints couldn’t have hand picked a much tougher start to the new campaign than a visit from the Huddersfield Giants who they faced three times in 2015 - winning 11-8 at the John Smith’s Stadium and 35-34 at Langtree Park and losing at home 28-22 to their West Yorkshire rivals in the Super 8s.

Cunningham said:’’We had some ding-dong and cracking games against the Giants last season and I expect Friday night’s clash to be no different.

‘’I am happy to be playing Hudderfield as there is nothing better way to start the season than with a tough-looking fixture which will test our ability to the limits.

Cunningham said he was 99 per cent sure what his first 13 would be and it was only a question of settling on his substitutes.

Injuries rule out Jonny Lomax and Shannon McDonnell.