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Thursday, 17 January, 2019

Struggling Warrington could stem the flow at St Helens

Huddersfield can stay in touch against Leeds

Warrington's Stefan Ratchford gets some unwelcome attention from Josh Jones of St Helens
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Super League
Sky Sports 2, 8pm Friday

Warrington have made their worst start to a Betfred Super League season for eight years and if the Wolves lose their sixth straight league game at St Helens, they'll have suffered as many defeats as they did in the whole of last year's regular season.

Before the campaign kicked off, no Super League boss was regarded as more secure than Warrington's Tony Smith with bookmakers offering 25-1 against him being the first coach to leave his job, but the two-time Grand Final winner is now under considerable pressure.

Smith is refusing to panic saying he's confident the Wolves will be heading in the right direction sooner rather than later.

But the bookmakers believe that the revival is unlikely to start with Warrington 6-4 to win at the Totally Wicked Stadium and hosts Saints odds-on to follow-up last weekend's victory at Catalans.

Prior to that success, coach Keiron Cunningham had been under fire after some dour performances and poor results but Saints shook off the shackles in the south of France and it'll be interesting to see how they approach the game.

Cunningham may be able to call upon close-season signing from Wigan Matty Smith for the first time. The scrum-half broke his leg in a pre-season friendly but could feature.

Warrington expect to field Stefan Ratchford for the first time since he had knee surgery at the end of last year and his appearance should make a considerable difference.

Ratchford scored in Warrington's 26-4 victory in the corresponding match last season and the recent history of this fixture is littered with away wins.

The Wolves have won on six of their seven visits since Saints moved to their new home from Knowsley Road and the percentage call tonight has to be to support them with a handicap start.

A fortnight ago, an injury-hit Wigan thwarted a major gamble on the Wolves and Shaun Wane's men aim to do similarly against Hull who've been backed from 2-1 to 6-5.

The handicap has shrunk from eight points to two and looks about right, as does the six-point buffer handed to Widnes at home to Salford.

However, Huddersfield look good business in receipt of eight points at home to Leeds.

Despite newspaper reports of a bust-up between coach Rick Stone and playmaker Danny Brough, the Giants insist their star man will play and he can help the home side stay close to the resurgent Rhinos.

Warrington +4
2pts 11-10 Hills
Huddersfield +8
3pts 10-11 Sky Bet

The Wolves have won on six of their seven visits since Saints moved to their new home
E.W. Terms
Sky bet