ST HELENS are a team in red-hot form.
The Merseysiders come into the Huddersfield clash on the back of six straight wins, and have not lost a game since their Magic Weekend defeat to fierce rivals Wigan.
Last weekend’s contentious win away to Catalan saw them leapfrog the Dragons into third place on the ladder, their highest position so far in 2012.
Things have certainly changed at the club since their 17-16 defeat at the Galpharm in early March, with both teams now heading in completely different directions.
Their chairman Eamonn McManus’s signing of Nathan Brown to coach the side in 2013 certainly seemed to derail the Giants Super League challenge, with the men in claret and gold having fallen alarmingly from grace after leading the table back in April.
That led to Brown’s early departure at Huddersfield, and saw former Saints favourite Paul Anderson slotted into the hot seat earlier than expected.
St Helens did lose some key personnel in the off-season in international stars Kyle Eastmond, Leon Pryce and James Graham, which did affect the team early on in the season and leading them to the sacking of Royce Simmons.
Former Kangaroo international prop Anthony Laffranchi has helped fill Graham’s shoes, though, and Kiwi Test ace Lance Hohaia has started to show form in the spine of the team.
Both have big-game experience which could help guide some of Saints’ young starlets to glory at the end of the season.
JAMES ROBY is again already being touted as a Super League Man of Steel contender.
The 26 year-old England hooker will no doubt be a major threat to the Giants’ chances of getting the right result.
His darting and elusive runs out of dummy half, as well as his massive defensive effort, are key to how the Saints play.
Paul Anderson will have a plan to cope with Saints’ main threat, but whether it will work remains to be seen.
LOCAL lad Mike Rush has revitalised Saints’ Super League chances.
The Head of Elite Performance took the reins alongside Kieron Cunningham when Australian Royce Simmons got the boot earlier in the season after a poor run of results.
Since taking the hot seat, Rush has been a revelation, losing to only one team in his time in charge – to Wigan three times!
Despite their inability to beat their neighbours, Rush’s strong defensive tactics and flamboyant style on the touchline have stood him and the Merseyside club in good stead, and he is sure to keep the seat adequately warm for former Giants boss Nathan Brown next season.
SUNDAY will be the first time the Giants have visited St Helens’ new 18,000-capacity Langtree Park ground.
It is easily accessible via the M62.
To reach it, exit Junction 7 from the M62 and follow the A570 (St Helens Linkway) until you reach Sherdley Road. Then bear left onto Peasley Cross Lane.
For those using a Sat Nav, the details are: St Helens RFC Ltd, Langtree Park, McManus Drive, St Helens, WA9 3AL.
Supporters parking on St Helens Retail Park who are not visiting the shops there should note they will be liable for a fixed penalty.