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ESL Round 14 Preview - Saturday Game
Caretaker boss Dave Rotheram says St Helens will be out to impress new coach Daniel Anderson when they take on Widnes at the Halton Stadium on Saturday.
Anderson was appointed this week as Ian Millward?s successor but is still waiting for his work permit to arrive and will monitor Saturday?s engage Super League match from his home in Auckland.
?With a new coach coming in, it?s a fresh start for everyone,? said Rotheram. ?We?ve all got to be out to impress him. The first impression we make on the new coach has got to be a lasting one.?
Rotheram, who will revert to his role as assistant when Anderson arrives next week, will be hoping for a rapid change of fortune after last week?s 44-6 defeat at Hull.
Many observers put the scale of Saints? third defeat of the season down to the Millward factor but Widnes coach Frank Endacott has a different take.
?I don?t think Saints played that badly,? he said. ?Hull were absolutely superb, the best they?ve been since I?ve been around. When little things go against you, the other team can get on a roll.?
Anderson, who has signed a two-and-a-half year contract, is expected to arrive in time for St Helens? crunch clash with champions Leeds at Knowsley Road next Friday.
Saints must win tomorrow (Saturday) to ensure they remain in touch with the leaders but they face a difficult test against Widnes, who hauled themselves off the foot of the table with a 47-34 win at Wakefield last Sunday.
The Vikings are still in the relegation zone but victory tomorrow (Saturday) would enable them to draw level on points with London Broncos, who play Salford on Sunday.
Wakefield are also in serious danger of being dragged into the relegation dogfight and Endacott remains optimistic about his side?s survival prospects.
?As a squad, we never felt we would be bottom after the final round,? he said.
?It?s not a nice place to be. I?d like to think we?ll move up another couple of places yet.?
Widnes have veteran second rower Mick Cassidy back from injury to bolster a pack that steamrollered the Wildcats last weekend.
Former St Helens duo John Stankevitch and Julian O?Neill have been impressive all season while skipper Shane Millard and ex-Wigan prop Terry O?Connor were particularly outstanding against Wakefield.
?Our forward pack has played well all year but they were very good the other day,? said Endacott.
Rotheram, too, has the luxury of picking from a full-strength squad, with centre Willie Talau and second rower Vinnie Anderson both set to return from injury.
?We?ve got a clean bill of health,? said Rotheram. ?It?s just our pride that is injured.?
Widnes v St Helens, The Halton Stadium, Saturday May 21 2005
Widnes 20-man: Connolly, Moule, Hughes, Emelio, Craigie, Myler, O?Connor, Millard, O?Neill, Cassidy, Stankevitch, Finnigan, Hulse, Whitaker, Frame, Mills, Fa-alogo, Smith, Holmes, Viane.
St Helens 20-man: Wellens, Gardner, Lyon, Gilmour, Albert, Talau, Roby, Hooper, Long, Fozzard, Cunningham, P. Anderson, Wilkin, Bennett, Sculthorpe, V. Anderson, Higham, Mason, Graham, Fa?asavalu.
Referee: R Silverwood