St Helens vs Castleford - Super League Round 1 Preview

This could well be the best game of the opening week, two teams tipped for greatness in 2018, set to go toe to toe in an effort to show who is the real title contender.

There is also an element of a score to be settled in this fixture, Castleford dumping Saints out in the play off semi-final last year, a Luke Gale golden point drop goal the nail in the coffin.

As far as head to heads go, these two are as evenly matched as possible, they met 4 times last year and both won 2 a piece, they were all very close games too, the highest margin was 14 points, whereas the rest varied from 1-8 points difference between the two sides.

St Helens - 1. Jonny Lomax 2. Tommy Makinson 3. Ryan Morgan 4. Mark Percival 6. Theo Fages 7. Matty Smith 8. Alex Walmsley 9. James Roby 10. Kyle Amor 11. Zeb Taia 12. Jon Wilkin 13. Louie McCarthy-Scarsbrook 14. Luke Douglas 15. Morgan Knowles 16. Luke Thompson 17. Dom Peyroux 18. Danny Richardson 19. Regan Grace 23. Ben Barba.

Castleford - 1. Roberts 2. Minikin 3. Webster 4. Shenton 5. Eden 6. Ellis 7. Gale 8. Moores 9. McShane 10. Millington 11. Holmes 12. McMeeken 13. Milner 14. Massey 15. Sene-Lefao 16. Wardle 18. Cook 21. Trueman 22. Green.

Key Match up - Roby vs Mcshane

These two love to run out of dummy half, pinpointing tired forwards and taking advantage of lazy marker work to give their side the best possible advantage, their input on the night will be crucial as to how many metres are made and who scores the most points.

Looking at Saints' 19 man squad, the immediatte stand out for me was the number of backs that had been included, it's looking likely that Barba and Lomax may well interchange through the game, presuming that both men make the final 17. Saints do have an incredibly strong squad going into their opener, plenty of young talent to showcase and that will develop further throughout the year, the likes of; Regan Grace, Danny Richardson and Danny Richardson are all expected to rack up plenty of game time this year.

Castleford have so much power in their ranks coming into the 2018 season, McMeeken was sensational last year, Milner is a strong runner of the ball and Sene-Lefao caused defenders nightmares last year, the expectation is that Castleford are going to try to keep this game very central to cut out the strength Saints have out-wide, then kicking to the wings in an effort to take advantage of their superstar wingers.

This game is literally too close to call, Castleford are bound to be the favourites coming in to this fixture, however Saints look like they have ironed out plenty of last seasons issues that hampered them. I'm honestly struggling to pick a winner in this fixture, but I'm going to have to back my gut feeling and say Saints by 2-10 points.



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