HUDDERSFIELD GIANTS have already lost to St Helens three times this season but have gleaned enough from each defeat to suggest they can add to the Super League leaders’ woe tonight.
Granted, the West Yorkshire club are given little chance of easing their relegation fears with a win in Merseyside.
Still, coach Simon Woolford believes the title favourites – who suffered a shock Challenge Cup final loss against Warrington Wolves less than a fortnight ago – are susceptible in certain areas.
“The first time we played them it was really close for 50 minutes but they got away with some late tries,” he said about a 40-12 loss in March.
“In the Challenge Cup game (22-16) they had to revert to kicks to score against us so we defended really well that day, too.
“I think they made 14 or 16 errors against us so they’re definitely a team you need to take it to defensively.
“You can’t sit back and wait for them. They’re too good a team; you have to dictate to them.
“The third game we had a really young side out but we know if we take the same effort and intent as we did last week (winning at Hull FC) then we do give ourselves a chance.”
Woolford will not let himself get caught up in the various permutations at the foot of the table; his side, Wakefield Trinity and Hull KR are all just two points adrift of bottom-placed London Broncos.
“It’s interesting,” said the Australian.
“In 24 hours we could be full of joy, happy and relieved but on the other end we could be looking at a must-win game next week
“It’s a situation I’m not used to. It’s quite weird.
“But we just have to be focused on doing a job at Saints and we’ll have a look at the (KR v London) scoreline when the game is finished.”
Woolford brings in half-back Tom Holmes after Matt Frawley suffered a small tear in his thigh during the win at Hull FC while Aaron Murphy will not be risked after coming back early from an ankle injury in that success.
“We don’t want to go to St Helens with guys half-fit,” said Woolford, who hopes both could return in next week’s final game against Catalans Dragons.
“They are in a bit of a situation, too; losing the Challenge Cup final was a bit of a shock for everyone so they’re going to want to make sure this season isn’t totally lost for them.
“They’ll want to make sure they finish well and are in a Grand Final and they win it.
“They’ll be ready to go and have picked a full-strength team so they mean business. We’ll need to be really good in most areas.”