There’s a lot of negativity amongst fans in Rugby League, and I like to try and be positive, so I’ll say this: it’s technically possible for us to win tonight. I’ll concede, however, it’s pretty unlikely.
As if the Saints weren’t already a dangerous enough opposition, last week they suffered a surprise loss to Wakefield, so they’ll be more eager than ever to avoid defeat, especially given the fact that a loss would allow Wigan to move top of the league.
With the Saints, the threats are obvious. The likes of Ben Barba, Tommy Makinson and Luke Thompson have been class this year, and have made easy work of teams far greater than the ones who made 14 unforced errors against Salford last week.
The Giants have so far failed to find any consistency in a squad that’s drastically been changed every week. This most notable change this week – for obvious reasons – is to the halfbacks, as Brough watches the game from the naughty step. With Sam Wood taking his place in the 19, part of me is expecting to see Rankin stay at fullback, Wood and Murphy in the centres, with Gaskell and Turner in the halves.
Turner played stand-off in our trip to Perpignan, and impressed me quite a bit, especially considering he’d never trained in the halves with the Giants. Gaskell seems to be something of a scapegoat amongst our fans at the moment. He’s got the most assists for us this year and effectively kicked a 40/20 last week (the defender fumbled the ball trying to keep it in-play), and yet some were still saying he was the halfback that let us down.
Thorman said this week in no uncertain terms that nobody is safe in our squad, and if you’re not pulling your weight, you’ll be dropped. Brough has let us down again at a time where our squad is already depleted. Whoever our halves are, they’ve got three games to prove their worth, and show that the Giants have options without their volatile talisman. Whilst this is easily the toughest of the three fixtures, I’m hoping we come out of it with our heads held high, with a belief that we can turn things around. If we manage to pick up two points in the process, I wouldn’t complain.
Saints 28-12 Giants