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

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.