Castleford came back down to earth with a bump last weekend with a 9-8 loss to Warrington following four wins from their opening five games. That defeat still left the Tigers in third position in the Super League table with opponents St Helens in fifth following their second loss of the season against Huddersfield.
Both sides have been inconsistent so far in 2020, impressing in fits and spurts. Halfback Danny Richardson has been the shining light for the Tigers in the early rounds, and, he faces his old club for the first time on Sunday afternoon.
Saints, however, do seem to be playing a different brand of rugby under new boss Kristian Woolf which may just need time to get used to. Plus, they also had the World Club Challenge to contend with which more often than not throws teams off in the league.
Good news for Castleford as powerhouse prop Liam Watts returns from injury earlier than first feared with youngster Bailey Hodgson also joining the squad. Calum Turner and Oliver Holmes – the latter through injury – drop out.
The Castleford 21-man squad in full: Jordan Rankin, Derrell Olpherts, Peter Mata’utia, Michael Shenton, Jake Trueman, Danny Richardson, Liam Watts, Paul McShane, Grant Millington, Mike McMeeken, Adam Milner, Nathan Massey, Jesse Sene-Lefao, George Griffin, Alex Foster, Cheyse Blair, Daniel Smith, James Clare, Jacques O’Neill, Tyla Hepi, Bailey Hodgson.
Aaron Smith returns from suspension for Kristian Woolf’s men as Josh Simm drops out.
The St Helens 21-man squad in full: Lachlan Coote, Tommy Makinson, Kevin Naiqama, Regan Grace, Jonny Lomax, Theo Fages, Alex Walmsley, James Roby, Luke Thompson, Zeb Taia, Dom Peyroux, Louie McCarthy-Scarsbrook, Morgan Knowles, Matty Lees, Kyle Amor, Jack Ashworth, Joseph Paulo, Aaron Smith, Matty Costello, Jack Welsby, Lewis Dodd.
Last time they met
A very uneventful 4-0 Saints victory was the outcome the last time these two sides met. In fact, Saints are currently on a run of seven unbeaten games against Castleford with the Tigers’ last victory coming in the rip-roaring 23-22 golden point semi-final play-off win back in 2017.
The Tigers have, however, won just two of their last nine home games against St Helens – both victories also came in 2017 when the West Yorkshire club were at their very best.
Castleford just simply struggle against St Helens. The Tigers have beaten the Lancashire side just four times in 32 games in the past decade and another loss could be on the horizon on Sunday. Castleford’s forward pack is dwarfed by that of St Helens, which could make all the difference in allowing the backs to play.
St Helens for the win.
If we had to pick a Line
Castleford Tigers +4.5