4 days ago
Saints announce Cup Final squad
St Helens have announced their 20-man squad ahead of Saturday?s Powergen Challenge Cup final against Huddersfield Giants at Twickenham.
Coach Daniel Anderson has a clean bill of health, with Australian loose forward Jason Hooper shaking off a leg injury.
Anderson has finalised his line-up but will not announce it until nearer kick-off time.
Super League Man of Steel Jamie Lyon is gearing himself up for his first Challenge Cup final, anxious to discover what all the fuss is about.
Saints' 24-year-old Australian centre has played in Test matches and an NRL Grand Final but he is still coming to terms with mid-season knockout football and will savour the climax to British rugby league?s most prestigious event on Saturday.
?A lot of older people in Australia talk of it, but - to tell you the truth - I didn?t know too much about it,? he said.
?But as soon as I came over, there was a lot of talk about the 2004 win over Wigan and it was a big disappointment last year when we played so well up until the semis and Hull blew us away.
?I?ve never been to Twickenham but I?ve heard quite a bit about it. I?ve got a mate working at Wembley and he said earlier in the year that it wouldn?t be ready so it didn?t come as that big of a shock.
?Wembley is a big name, especially to Australians, so it?s a big disappointment that the final is not there, but Twickenham won?t be bad. I?m looking forward to it.?
St Helens, who have lifted the trophy four times in the last 10 years, are favourites to complete the league and cup double but the former Parramatta favourite, who is returning to Australia at the end of the season, is taking little notice of the bookmakers? odds.
?It would be nice to do the double,? he said. ?It would be a hell of a way to go out. But we?re not looking too far ahead.
?We?ve got the Challenge Cup this week and we have a few games of Super League to go after that.
?And in big games anything can happen. We were big favourites against Newcastle in 2001 when we got rolled so I don?t think it means too much. You have got to put that stuff to the back of your mind.?
It is 44 years since Huddersfield?s last cup final appearance but their impressive semi-final win over Leeds Rhinos will serve to guard Saints against any complacency.
Lyon is acutely aware of the potential match-winners in the Giants side, having played both with and against two of his fellow countrymen.
He is a former room-mate of former New South Wales centre Michael de Vere, who like Lyon wore the number four jersey for the Kangaroos, and played alongside hooker Brad Drew for his old club Parramatta.
?I think Brad Drew is probably their most dangerous player,? said Lyon. ?I played with him at Parramatta in 2001 when he got dummy-half of the year so I know what he?s capable of. He?s a good mate of mine.
?And I actually roomed with Mick de Vere in State of Origin so I know him quite well. He?s a class player and we?ll definitely have to watch him.
?He?s very under-rated. You forget he?s there because he never makes a mistake and he?s always there or thereabouts in support. We?re going to have to be on on our toes up against that left-hand side.
?I think that?s their most dangerous side. But they have got a good team across the park, they have been playing pretty well as a team. There has been talk of injuries but we?re pretty sure they will all be playing.?
Huddersfield Giants v St Helens, Twickenham, 26 August 2006
St Helens 20-man squad: Wellens, Gardner, Lyon, Talau, Meli, Pryce, Long, Cayless, Cunningham, Fozzard, Gilmour, Wilkin, Sculthorpe, Roby, Hooper, P Anderson, V Anderson, Graham, Hardman, Fa?asavalu.
Referee: R Silverwood