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Monday, 10 December, 2018

St Helens set to continue dominance over Warrington Wolves

Super League Grand Final beckons for table-toppers

Ben Barba will be keen to end his Saints career in style
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Playoff semi-final: St Helens v Warrington
Sky Sports Arena, 7.45pm Thursday

After weeks of sparring, the Betfred Super League semi-finals have arrived and the Old Trafford Grand Final is just 80 minutes away for St Helens, Wigan, Castleford and Warrington.

Saints have dominated the competition since it started in February and it will be a travesty if Racing Post Sport's 5-1 pre-season picks aren’t at the Theatre of Dreams on October 13. 

Justin Holbrook’s team are a best-priced 11-8 to be crowned champions with the Warriors next at 2-1, Cas 9-2 and the Wolves 6-1. 

St Helens are 2-5 to dispose of Warrington, who finished 15 points behind the table-toppers after the weekly rounds. 

A year ago, the boot was on the other foot for Saints as they travelled to Castleford having trailed the Tigers by 17 points in the standings. 

They led until the dying seconds when a Luke Gale penalty tied the scores and the Cas half-back’s drop goal won the tie in extra-time.

That was as close as an away team have come to winning a semi-final since the current format was introduced in 2015.

The hosts have prevailed by 24, ten, eight, seven, two and one point in the six matches played and backing that trend to continue could be the way to go.

St Helens are 15-8 to get home by a dozen points or fewer as they look for a fourth win over the Wolves in 2018.

Their last victory over these opponents came by 34-14 at the Halliwell Jones Stadium a fortnight ago but the July contest at the Totally Wicked Stadium ended 14-12 with a last-gasp Danny Richardson penalty proving decisive. 

Warrington’s Tyrone Roberts had earlier booted three two-pointers and backing a penalty to open the scoring in this contest looks a wise move with both sides likely to accept any opportunity to post points. 

The hosts are 15-2 to open the scoring in that manner with the visitors 9-1. 

This will be Saints superstar Ben Barba’s last home game after the Australian confirmed he is joining North Queensland Cowboys in 2019. 

The full back is 6-1 to be named man of the match and even-money to add to the three tries he has scored against Warrington this season. 

Saints welcome back Jonny Lomax, Jon Wilkin and Luke Thompson after they were rested for the win over Castleford, while Wolves boss Steve Price has halves Kevin Brown and Tyrone Roberts fit and winger Tom Lineham available after suspension. 

St Helens to win by one to 12 points
3pts 2-1 188Bet
St Helens penalty first scoring play
1pt 15-2 Paddy Power
Warrington penalty first scoring play
1pt 9-1 Paddy Power

Already advised (February 1)
St Helens to win Grand Final
4pts 11-2 Betfred

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St Helens are 15-8 to get home by a dozen points or fewer as they look for a fourth win over the Wolves in 2018
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