Yates' view: No complacency as derby day is different

Don't take a blind bit of notice of the fact that arch-rivals Wigan Warriors will travel to the Totally Wicked Stadium on Sunday night on the back of an embarrassing run of four defeats on the bounce.

Friday, 2nd July 2021, 11:35 am
Lachlan Coote. Picture: SWPix
Lachlan Coote. Picture: SWPix

This is a derby game with form often going straight out of the window and I don't need to remind Saints that not too many years ago they sent what was little more than a team of rookies into the lion's den and overturned a shocked Warriors' outfit in front of their own supporters.

Now it seems the roles will be reversed with injury-hit Wigan the rank outsiders on paper and St Helens expected to pick up the points.

But it is easier said than done when local bragging rights are at stake and both sides desperate to maintain their title challenge alongside leaders Catalans Dragons, Warrington Wolves and Hull FC.

At this moment in time, it is almost impossible to predict who will finish where due to the pandemic and other factors, but most people, quite rightly, feel that two of the current top five will earn a Grand Final spot.

Second-in-the-table Saints will also be hoping to add to their impressive record against the Cherry and Whites during recent years, which includes last year's Grand Final victory at Hull, but they can't count their chickens before they are hatched and no doubt that will be drummed into them by head coach Kristian Woolf and his backroom staff.

Aussie full back Lachlan Coote, whose current contract expires at end of the campaign, is relishing the prospect of having 4,000 fans packed into the stadium.

The Scotland international said: ''It's a massive game and it will be great to have the fans urging us on.

''Neither side is currently playing to their usual standard and there is no better game to turn that around than a red-hot derby.''

Hang on to your hats, a cracker might be on the cards!

Saints have won eight of the last 10 meetings against derby rivals Wigan Warriors and will be hoping their impressive record continues at the Totally Wicked Stadium).

It is the first showdown between the old foes since Jack Welsby snatched a last-minute match-winning try for St Helens in the 2020 Grand Final at Hull last November and if it produces the same kind of nerve-tingling encounter, then the 4,000-strong crowd will be royally entertained

LAST 10 MEETINGS

St Helens 8, Wigan 4 (SLGF, 27/11/20)

(at KCOM Stadium, Hull)

St Helens 6, Wigan 18 (SLR19, 30/10/20)

Wigan 0, St Helens 42 (SLR14, 29/9/20)

(at AJ Bell Stadium, Salford)

St Helens 40, Wigan 10 (SLQSF, 27/9/19)

St Helens 32, Wigan 10 (SLR22, 12/7/19)

Wigan 10, St Helens 36 (SLR11, 19/4/19)

St Helens 22, Wigan 12 (SLR1, 31/1/19)

St Helens 10, Wigan 30 (SLS8-R3, 31/8/18)

Wigan 6, St Helens 14 (SLR22, 19/7/18)

St Helens 21, Wigan 18 (SLR8, 30/3/18)

Saints are set to play their home fixture against Hull KR on Friday, July 23, kick-off 7.45pm

At present, the fixtures is due to be played after the easing of Covid-19 restrictions, provisionally set by the Tory Government for July 19. However, a contingency plan is in place if this date is again reviewed by the powers-that-be and pushed back further.

This means that a soft ballot will take place in the event of the game being restricted capacity and then made live if the situation occurs.

As a result, some 2021 members, who have been balloted for the fixture, may see it appear in their online ticketing account, but no physical tickets will be sent out to any fans until confirmation of the match's status is finalised.

St Helens duo, Philippa Birchall and Sarah Lovejoy, have been selected for the Ireland women's train-on squad following an impressive first trial in the UK last weekend.