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Thu 10th Feb: SL: St Helens v Catalans Dragons KO 20:00 SKY


Who will win?  

57 members have voted

  1. 1. Who will win?

    • St Helens
      40
    • Catalans Dragons
      17


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19 minutes ago, Exiled Wiganer said:

Reading the season previews, there is a consensus that Saints have the best first 17, the best squad, the best youngsters, the best coach and the best back office. Roby argues that this is the best team he has ever been involved in. So the only question is how many trophies they will win. If they win tonight, and put on a show of strength, it is very difficult to see beyond another double or even the treble, because it appears that only Catalans have the strength in depth to get close.

For that reason, it would be good to see a close game, but it is odd to be pinning hopes of a competitive competition solely on the Foreign Legion. A procession towards a 4th win on the run will be great for those with Saints allegiances, but will make it hard to pay much attention after the CC finishes in May. 

It is somewhat deflating for the competition that, in this era of a salary cap, it is Saints again, daylight, Catalans, daylight, lots of flawed collections of misfit squads, and then the also rans. 

Saints have a very strong squad and I expect them to be at or near the top of the league. But I think there is a potential for weakness in the 1,6,7,9 spine, especially if they pick up injuries in those positions.

1 Welsby is a downgrade from Coote and there are plenty of better full backs in Super League imo

6 Lomax is obviously good but if he’s injured they have little depth to replace him

7 Dodd is a kid with very little Super League experience, it’s a big ask to play the full season as a first choice number 7, again if he’s injured they have little depth to replace him.

9 Roby, obviously a great of the game but he’s 36 and will turn 37 this year, it’s fair to question if he can keep up his previous high standards all season. 

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10 minutes ago, arcticchris said:

Roby is a fantastic player and you can understand him talking up his current teammates but a quick look at the old Grand Final lineups tells me that the 2006/2007 sides were vastly better.

Absolutely.

 

This Saints side is a very good one in a pretty poor league (certainly these past 3 or 4 seasons). The lack of real sustained challengers to them is something all the other clubs should feel pretty embarrassed about. I don't think COVID has hurt Saints in truth because they were the best and most settled side going in to it and it's been tough work for anybody to really build momentum with all the stop start and absences but the other sides can't hang their hat solely on that. 

The league looks more competitive this season and fingers crossed there isn't any covid disruption and more than one team can string some form together.  

 

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5 minutes ago, Sir Kevin Sinfield said:

Saints have a very strong squad and I expect them to be at or near the top of the league. But I think there is a potential for weakness in the 1,6,7,9 spine, especially if they pick up injuries in those positions.

1 Welsby is a downgrade from Coote and there are plenty of better full backs in Super League imo

6 Lomax is obviously good but if he’s injured they have little depth to replace him

7 Dodd is a kid with very little Super League experience, it’s a big ask to play the full season as a first choice number 7, again if he’s injured they have little depth to replace him.

9 Roby, obviously a great of the game but he’s 36 and will turn 37 this year, it’s fair to question if he can keep up his previous high standards all season. 

 Saints have not had to deal with multiple injuries at one time at any stage in these past 4 or 5 years and they have certainly not had to deal with their spine players missing large chunks of seasons. That's a credit to them because clearly they're doing something right but it doesn't stop your mind wondering as to how they would get on if they lost a couple of spine players and a number of other players all at the same time. I keep hearing they have more depth this season and they do in the pack and outside backs but Welsby and Dodds were back ups to Coote and Fages and now they're first choice. If they get one more injury at the moment in the spine, then it's going to need a shuffle around and a player potentially playing out of position. 

 

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1 minute ago, WN83 said:

 Saints have not had to deal with multiple injuries at one time at any stage in these past 4 or 5 years and they have certainly not had to deal with their spine players missing large chunks of seasons. That's a credit to them because clearly they're doing something right but it doesn't stop your mind wondering as to how they would get on if they lost a couple of spine players and a number of other players all at the same time. I keep hearing they have more depth this season and they do in the pack and outside backs but Welsby and Dodds were back ups to Coote and Fages and now they're first choice. If they get one more injury at the moment in the spine, then it's going to need a shuffle around and a player potentially playing out of position. 

 

At different points last season Saints were without Coote, Makinson, Fages, Percival, Thompson, Bentley, Lomax and Paasi (I’m probably forgetting some, too). The difference between Saints and the majority of Super League is that the foundations the club has in place are so that there’s such squad depth in place that they’re affected less than clubs without such foundations in place. Losing the equivalent starting players that Saints lost in 2021 at a Salford or Wakefield would decimate their squads, at Saints, Welsby slotted in at centre, Dodd played in the halves and Joe Batchelor went up through the gears to nail a starting jersey in 2022. 

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2 minutes ago, Jughead said:

At different points last season Saints were without Coote, Makinson, Fages, Percival, Thompson, Bentley, Lomax and Paasi (I’m probably forgetting some, too). The difference between Saints and the majority of Super League is that the foundations the club has in place are so that there’s such squad depth in place that they’re affected less than clubs without such foundations in place. Losing the equivalent starting players that Saints lost in 2021 at a Salford or Wakefield would decimate their squads, at Saints, Welsby slotted in at centre, Dodd played in the halves and Joe Batchelor went up through the gears to nail a starting jersey in 2022. 

At one time? Maybe they were shy of 1. 2 or even 3 of them for a game here and there and there was a couple of long termers but other teams have had sustained seasons of missing 7, 8, 9+ players all at one time and for weeks and months on end.

That isn't Saints fault and as I say, they get huge credit for their durability and how they manage their players because clearly they're getting things very very right but nobody can deny they've avoided what would be deemed an injury crisis for a number of seasons now (and they probably deserved that after they had a couple of shocking years with injuries 6 or 7 years back). 

Saints are actually in a better spot to deal with 7 or 8 injuries at one time this season and pretty much right across the board apart from the 1, 6 and 7 spots. Look at the problems Hull have (and have had for what feels like forever) with Connor and Reynolds out. If Saints lost Welsby and Lomax tonight for a spell and with Grace out, they would then need to move Hopoate to fullback, bring a kid on the wing and play somebody out of position at 6 (like Lussick or Roby). It suddenly doesn't look as strong, it puts pressure on Dodds and it would be interesting to see how they cope. It's that sort of shuffle Saints have just not had to cope with over recent seasons. 

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7 minutes ago, Jughead said:

At different points last season Saints were without Coote, Makinson, Fages, Percival, Thompson, Bentley, Lomax and Paasi (I’m probably forgetting some, too). The difference between Saints and the majority of Super League is that the foundations the club has in place are so that there’s such squad depth in place that they’re affected less than clubs without such foundations in place. Losing the equivalent starting players that Saints lost in 2021 at a Salford or Wakefield would decimate their squads, at Saints, Welsby slotted in at centre, Dodd played in the halves and Joe Batchelor went up through the gears to nail a starting jersey in 2022. 

If they end up with the same injuries / outs that Leeds had last season then they will have the same amount of problems in my view. Although Saints had injuries last season they never seemed to have them as concurrently 

I think if Leeds can sort out whatever relative issues it has with physio/rehab/fitness they will challenge Saints (apart from the injuries and long lay off differences check out how big fat Konny Hurrell looks after a Saints preseason)

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Just now, WN83 said:

At one time? Maybe they were shy of 1. 2 or even 3 of them for a game here and there and there was a couple of long termers but other teams have had sustained seasons of missing 7, 8, 9+ players all at one time and for weeks and months on end.

That isn't Saints fault and as I say, they get huge credit for their durability and how they manage their players because clearly they're getting things very very right but nobody can deny they've avoided what would be deemed an injury crisis for a number of seasons now (and they probably deserved that after they had a couple of shocking years with injuries 6 or 7 years back). 

Saints are actually in a better spot to deal with 7 or 8 injuries at one time this season and pretty much right across the board apart from the 1, 6 and 7 spots. Look at the problems Hull have (and have had for what feels like forever) with Connor and Reynolds out. If Saints lost Welsby and Lomax tonight for a spell and with Grace out, they would then need to move Hopoate to fullback, bring a kid on the wing and play somebody out of position at 6 (like Lussick or Roby). It suddenly doesn't look as strong, it puts pressure on Dodds and it would be interesting to see how they cope. It's that sort of shuffle Saints have just not had to cope with over recent seasons. 

All hypothetical really but they’ve got the best squad depth of anyone in the competition so I can’t see it effecting them that much. It’s if back-up’s then get injured that you’d raise doubts, as with around 2015 when they used something like 7 fullbacks in one year, but this is a Saints side that won at Warrington with Welsby and Dodd in the halves last year who outplayed Williams and Widdop, so I don’t think they’d have many problems. 
 

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9 minutes ago, Jughead said:

All hypothetical really but they’ve got the best squad depth of anyone in the competition so I can’t see it effecting them that much. It’s if back-up’s then get injured that you’d raise doubts, as with around 2015 when they used something like 7 fullbacks in one year, but this is a Saints side that won at Warrington with Welsby and Dodd in the halves last year who outplayed Williams and Widdop, so I don’t think they’d have many problems. 
 

Well that's the point isn't it, they beat Wire with Welsby and Dodds in the halves last year because they had them as back up to Coote, Fages and Lomax and now they're first choice.

No injuries, no problems because the first choice spine is great but lose a couple and who knows. They won't fall off a cliff but they won't be able to just slot natural back ups in and will need to do what Wigan, Leeds, Hull, Cas etc have had to do on a pretty regular basis and shuffle things around/play people out of position. They'll still probably win it mind and it is hypothetical as you say but a test of the spine depth would be interesting to watch. 

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1 hour ago, Bedfordshire Bronco said:

If they end up with the same injuries / outs that Leeds had last season then they will have the same amount of problems in my view. Although Saints had injuries last season they never seemed to have them as concurrently 

I think if Leeds can sort out whatever relative issues it has with physio/rehab/fitness they will challenge Saints (apart from the injuries and long lay off differences check out how big fat Konny Hurrell looks after a Saints preseason)

I agree with your overall conclusion, BB.

It's interesting you refer specifically to physio, rehab, etc. because I think I am right in saying that Leeds have recruited one of the key staff in that field from Les Dracs, whose own fitness seems to have steadily improved over the last couple of seasons.

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2 hours ago, Sir Kevin Sinfield said:

Saints have a very strong squad and I expect them to be at or near the top of the league. But I think there is a potential for weakness in the 1,6,7,9 spine, especially if they pick up injuries in those positions.

1 Welsby is a downgrade from Coote and there are plenty of better full backs in Super League imo

6 Lomax is obviously good but if he’s injured they have little depth to replace him

7 Dodd is a kid with very little Super League experience, it’s a big ask to play the full season as a first choice number 7, again if he’s injured they have little depth to replace him.

9 Roby, obviously a great of the game but he’s 36 and will turn 37 this year, it’s fair to question if he can keep up his previous high standards all season. 

I wouldn’t agree that Welsby is a downgrade on Coote, different skill set. What they’ve lost in experience and defensive stability with Coote they’ve gained in attacking abilities with Welsby. Last year it was noticeable how much less Coote was chiming into the line from previous years, something Welsby does pretty well, and arguably much better than Coote.

Lomax has managed to stay fairly injury free for a few years now so I don’t think his fitness is a concern 

I would agree though that they’re missing depth in the halves but it’s likely Welsby would move there with Hopoate to 1 to cover, plus Bell has played at 6 a fair bit so he could step in.

Roby may still be first choice but i doubt he’ll play half as many minutes this year, Lussick is likely to play more. So as great a player as Roby is I’m not as concerned now with having Lussick onboard, he’s already proved what he can do in SL.

St.Helens - The Home of Rugby Champions

Saints Men's team - Triple Champions & Double Winners ; Saints Women's team - Treble Winners ; Thatto Heath - National Conference Champions

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5 minutes ago, Saint Toppy said:

I wouldn’t agree that Welsby is a downgrade on Coote, different skill set. What they’ve lost in experience and defensive stability with Coote they’ve gained in attacking abilities with Welsby. Last year it was noticeable how much less Coote was chiming into the line from previous years, something Welsby does pretty well, and arguably much better than Coote.

Lomax has managed to stay fairly injury free for a few years now so I don’t think his fitness is a concern 

I would agree though that they’re missing depth in the halves but it’s likely Welsby would move there with Hopoate to 1 to cover, plus Bell has played at 6 a fair bit so he could step in.

Roby may still be first choice but i doubt he’ll play half as many minutes this year, Lussick is likely to play more. So as great a player as Roby is I’m not as concerned now with having Lussick onboard, he’s already proved what he can do in SL.

He was clutching at straws. The only questions worth asking your lot by Easter will be what suits to wear for Wembley and which finger to put the new ring on. 

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The worry about our first choice spine is an interesting one.  Sironen has played halves, so has Hopoate.  Lussick has been brought in to cover/spell Roby.

If every one of our 1/6/7/9 spine got injured we could still name something like:

Makinson, Simm, Percival, Hurrell, Grace, Sironen, Hopoate, Walmsley, Lussick, Paasi, Matautia, Bachelor, Knowles with Lees/LMS/Amor/Bell/Wingfield.  Some good young players not yet called upon in that scenario.

The squad looks really well covered to me - I think a specialist scrum half is probably the one area we lack cover but I think it only becomes an issue when you have three+ injuries in the 1/6/7 position as Lomax and Welsby can both play there and Hopoate also.

 

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1 hour ago, FearTheVee said:

The worry about our first choice spine is an interesting one.  Sironen has played halves, so has Hopoate.  Lussick has been brought in to cover/spell Roby.

If every one of our 1/6/7/9 spine got injured we could still name something like:

Makinson, Simm, Percival, Hurrell, Grace, Sironen, Hopoate, Walmsley, Lussick, Paasi, Matautia, Bachelor, Knowles with Lees/LMS/Amor/Bell/Wingfield.  Some good young players not yet called upon in that scenario.

The squad looks really well covered to me - I think a specialist scrum half is probably the one area we lack cover but I think it only becomes an issue when you have three+ injuries in the 1/6/7 position as Lomax and Welsby can both play there and Hopoate also.

 

It's manageable on occasion for sure but if you'd fancy your chances of winning things if you had to do it over a sustained period, I'm not too sure. 

 

It probably won't happen anyway, as I say Saints injury record is great and that isn't luck IMO, it is planning well by bringing in the right players, with decent injury records, in combination with obviously having an excellent strength and conditioning/medical department.  

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1 hour ago, FearTheVee said:

 

The squad looks really well covered to me - I think a specialist scrum half is probably the one area we lack cover but I think it only becomes an issue when you have three+ injuries in the 1/6/7 position as Lomax and Welsby can both play there and Hopoate also.

 

I mentioned Bell in an earlier post as he has played 6 a fair bit, but the fact in Walmsley's testimonial game Woolf played their U18's half back Ellis Archer suggests he sees this youngster as the next off the production line for half backs. It wouldn't surprise me that if we do see a long list of injuries in the 1st team of half-backs then Archer may well get his chance.

St.Helens - The Home of Rugby Champions

Saints Men's team - Triple Champions & Double Winners ; Saints Women's team - Treble Winners ; Thatto Heath - National Conference Champions

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7 hours ago, Bedfordshire Bronco said:

Let's hope Jack can stay upright more than the at times  injury faking cheat Coote

Upright?  Have you seen his posture? 😁

This world was never meant for one as beautiful as me.
 
 
Wakefield Trinity RLFC
2012 - 2014 "The wasted years"

2013, 2014 & 2015 Official Magic Weekend "Whipping Boys"

2017 - The year the dream disappeared under Grix's left foot.

2018 - The FinniChezz Bromance 

2019 - The Return of the Prodigal Son

 

 

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I was going to this game but came down with COVID over a week ago and only had my first negative LFT today! It one us Welsh (Catalans) Dragons fans head for each year so I hope my fellow Dracs followers enjoy it.

We were at Langtree Park for the nailbiter in 2013 when Dragons scored a try after the hooter to draw, followed by the kick to win the game. Fantastic game! LEts hope tonight is just as exciting.

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