Kristian Woolf: St Helens battle hardened by ‘tough’ fixture list ahead of Wigan Warriors derby

Kristian Woolf, Head Coach of St Helens. Photo: Lewis Storey/Getty ImagesKristian Woolf, Head Coach of St Helens. Photo: Lewis Storey/Getty Images
Kristian Woolf, Head Coach of St Helens. Photo: Lewis Storey/Getty Images | Getty Images
Saints are seeking a third victory of the season over the club’s long-standing arch-rivals to clinch the League Leaders Shield.

St Helens boss Kristian Woolf believes the defending champions couldn’t have hand-picked  a more testing set of fixtures in the build-up to Friday’s blockbuster against Wigan Warriors  at DW Stadium and he is as happy as Larry.

"We have been involved in some tough matches during the last few weeks but they will put us in the right frame of mind to face Wigan’s challenge," said Woolf, who will be seeking a third victory of the season over the club’s long-standing arch-rivals.

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The Aussie went on: "The derby, in particular, is the kind of challenge we need ahead of the play-offs and will produce the type of quality encounter which both sides will relish.

"There is a great rivalry and respect between the two clubs and both know what a fixture like this entails."

It could be decided on a piece of magic, or an enforced error, and there is no one better in the St Helens’ camp to exploit any Wigan frailties than on-song winger Tommy Makinson.

Since returning from injury, the England international has been in a rich vein of form and played a major role in last week’s 38-12 home win over Hull KR, scoring two tries and landing seven goals.

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The 30-year-old Ince-in-Makerfield born wingman said: ‘’Victory will earn us the League Leaders’ Shield for the eighth time but Wigan, like ourselves, are a world class side and we will have to pull out all the stops to succeed."

Saints will also be hoping that their travelling army of fans will act as ‘18th man’ with Makinson declaring: "Our supporters are the best in the world and follow us everywhere we go and we will certainly need their vocal backing on Friday night."

Last 10 meetings with Wigan.

St Helens 20, Wigan 18 (SLR18, 9/7/22)

(at St James’ Park, Newcastle)

St Helens 18, Wigan 20 (CCSF, 7/5/22)

(at Elland Road, Leeds)

St Helens 22, Wigan 4 (SLR8, 15/4/22)

Wigan 2, St Helens 26 (SLR20, 20/8/21)

St Helens 24, Wigan 6 (SLR13, 4/7/21)

St Helens 8, Wigan 4 (SLGF, 27/11/20)

(at KCOM Stadium, Hull)

St Helens 6, Wigan 18 (SLR19, 30/10/20)

Wigan 0, St Helens 42 (SLR14, 29/9/20)

(at AJ Bell Stadium, Salford)

St Helens 40, Wigan 10 (SLQSF, 27/9/19)

St Helens 32, Wigan 10 (SLR22, 12/7/19)

⭕ Saints will also be in action against Wakefield Trinity at the Totally Wicked Stadium on  Bank Holiday Monday, kick-off 3pm.

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