Pump up the volume

Royce Simmons
Royce Simmons
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ROYCE Simmons has called on Saints fans to help them reach an unparalleled sixth successive Grand Final.

Blocking their path is the considerable presence of defending champions and Carnegie Challenge Cup holders Wigan Warriors.

The Stobart Stadium will be no place for the faint-hearted on Saturday night, as two of the giants of Super League lock horns in a win-or-bust bid to reach Old Trafford seven days later, and a date with favourites Warrington Wolves, or rank outsiders Leeds Rhinos.

Saints will go into the game buoyed by a 26-18 victory over their neighbours in a qualifying play-off a couple of weeks ago, but that result will be firmly put to the back of the players’ mind as they focus on a new and equally demanding challenge.

It will be the sixth meeting of the two clubs this season, with most of the previous encounters going down to the wire.

Coach Royce Simmons said: “It will be a closely run affair again this weekend, and neither side can take anything for granted.

“It’s a question of who performs the better on the day, and hopefully that will be us.”

Simmons added: “It would also be fantastic if we could run out in front of a full house, and our fans can generate the kind of atmosphere needed to inspire us to victory.

“Their support on the day could be the difference between winning and losing, and will almost be as vital as the players’ contribution.”

Unlike Warrington boss Tony Smith, who doesn’t give much credence to the Club Call system in which the top team is given a choice of semi-final opponents, Simmons feels it has some plus points.

“I don’t mind it,” said the Saints’ supremo.

“It keeps fans talking right up to the decision and that can only be good for the game in general.

“But whatever system is used, whoever holds the trophy aloft at Old Trafford will be the best side and will deserve the honour.”