Jeff Dickinson-Fox reviews the campaign which saw Melbourne Storm crowned premiers in 2017.
4 days ago
Cullen expecting tough contest
Captain Lee Briers, who has a thigh injury, will not be risked but coach Paul Cullen saw enough in defeat against St Helens to feel confident going to the Galpharm Stadium.
He said: ?We have beaten a number of teams this year without Lee Briers or (scrum-half) Nathan Wood and occasionally without either of them.
?We did very well to push Saints backwards, our kick and chase was excellent with one exception, but our composure at the top end of the field failed to break them down.
?We need to make more efficient use of our shape and structures in their 20.?
The Wolves are also without Australian Graham Appo, who sustained a shoulder injury against Saints and is out for at least a week.
He hopes to return to face Widnes next week but it is an unfortunate time to get injured with Warrington planning to ?de-register? one of their overseas players when Andrew Johns arrives.
Huddersfield are at full strength with full-back Paul Reilly back after a three-match suspension for his sending off against Leigh.
Cullen added: ?It will be a tough contest as always against the Giants, especially with Paul Reilly returning from his suspension.?
Huddersfield 18-man squad: Reilly, O?Hare, Evans, Thorman, March, Drew, Gannon, Nero, Gene, S. Jones, Morrison, Smith, Crabtree, Grayshon, White, Jackson, McDonald, Greenwood.
Warrington 18-man squad: Grose, Fa?afili, Martin Gleeson, Kohe-Love, N. Wood, Leikvoll, Clarke, Hilton, Swann, Wainwright, Noone, Mark Gleeson, Westwood, P. Wood, Lima, Pickersgill, Bridge, Riley.
Referee: A Klein
- - - - - Saints spurred on by Cup defeat
Saints were denied a return to the Millennium Stadium by Hull a fortnight ago but with a top-two league place now guaranteed, they can devote their energies to their title challenge.
Anderson?s side bounced back to form with a 30-10 win at Warrington last week and the former New Zealand coach feels the cup loss is now out of the system.
He said: ?Our opposition in the Challenge Cup thoroughly outplayed us but we didn't make it too hard for them to outplay us.
?I thought we rectified it and atoned for it with a very professional display.
?We all took a dent and you need to bounce back for your own well-being and your self-esteem.?
Saints face Tony Smith?s rejuvenated Wakefield at Knowsley Road on Friday looking to regain top spot from Leeds.
The Merseysiders moved above the Rhinos last week only for the champions to reclaim first place with a 74-0 thrashing of Leigh two days later.
They last played the Wildcats six weeks ago in Smith?s first match in charge, and won 38-26 in a close contest at the Atlantic Solutions Stadium.
Since then Smith has overseen a revival at Wakefield, leading them away from the relegation zone with three successive wins before last Sunday?s loss to Huddersfield.
The Wildcats now look safe and are unlikely to reach the play-offs, but Anderson still views them as a difficult challenge.
?They gave us a real work-out at Wakefield,? Anderson said. ?I think it all depends on how they defend because they are very potent in attack.
?I'm very wary of them as they are a huge pack. They are bigger than us.?
Saints must again cope without inspirational skipper Paul Sculthorpe who, after an injury-plagued season, was ruled out for the rest of the campaign this week with a knee problem which requires surgery.
Sculthorpe?s injury means he has now played his last Saints game alongside Australia-bound prop Mark Edmondson.
The 25-year-old announced this week he will join Great Britain international Adrian Morley at Sydney Roosters in 2006.
Anderson said: ?It's a wonderful opportunity for him at this time of his career. He?s at an age to take up the challenge.
?St Helens as a club are quite proud that Mark has signed a contract from this club in the NRL. We wish him the best and he is fully committed to finishing on a big note."
St Helens v Wakefield Trinity Wildcats, Knowsley Road, Sunday August 12 2005
St Helens 18-man: Wellens, Gardner, Lyon, Talau, Albert, Hooper, Long, Fozzard, Cunningham, Edmondson, Gilmour, Wilkin, Bennett, P. Anderson, Graham, Roby, Fa?asavalu, V. Anderson.
Wakefield 18-man: Halpenny, Wainwright, Domic, Tadulala, Jeffries, Griffin, March, Korkidas, Solomona, J. Field, Spicer, Obst , Wrench, MacGillivray, Elima, Feather, Henderson, Booth.
Referee: Glen Black
Thanks to www.superleague.co.uk for the above previews