St Helens’ brutal pack should lay the platform for talismanic half-back Luke Walsh to cause havoc against the Salford Red Devils in Thursday’s televised Super League encounter.
Saints kicked off their season with a 30-16 victory over Huddersfield last Friday, while the Red Devils fell to a disappointing 42-20 loss away at Hull FC.
In testing conditions against the Giants, it was the boot of Walsh that caused the most issues, with his kicks creating two of the hosts’ tries, while he also had a hand in another three.
With inspirational hooker James Roby missing the game through injury, Walsh’s importance will rise. He has missed a lot of rugby since joining St Helens due to injury, but fit again and seemingly back to his best, the wily scrum-half is a good bet to claim the man of the match award.
It has been another close-season of comings and goings at Salford, who seem to have replaced their tactic of big-name signings with the capturing of experienced Super League players, such as Phil Joseph, Mark Flanagan and Craig Kopczak, who’ve all signed-up for the 2016 campaign.
However, 10 new faces couldn’t help their cause at Hull FC, and it looks like another upward struggle against a St Helens side who have beaten the Red Devils in each of their last 11 meetings.
They amassed 84 points in two outings against Salford last season, conceding just 18 and Saints can be backed at 11/8 with a -18 handicap.
Salford and Saints met in Round Two last season as well, resulting in a resounding 52-6 win for St Helens.
Powerful forward Luke Thompson scored that day, as he did against Huddersfield last week. Saints should have plenty of ball near Salford’s line and Thompson is 9/2 to cross the line.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.
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