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Wolves v Saints: Teams
At Halliwell Jones, Saturday September 14, kick-off 6pm
Warrington tackle St Helens at Halliwell Jones on Saturday evening with the winners just one game away from reaching this year's Grand Final.
It is second versus third in the Super League table as the Challenge Cup winners take on a Saints side who won away at Wigan on the final weekend of the season.
Wolves boss Tony Smith is no stranger to Old Trafford after helping the Leeds Rhinos to Grand Final success in 2004 and 2007.
Mike Rush, who is being replaced by ex-Huddersfield coach Nathan Brown for 2013, has transformed Saints' league results after replacing Royce Simmons earlier in the campaign.
Warrington's utility back Stefan Ratchford has recovered from a knee injury, but loose forward Ben Harrison will miss Saturday's tie with a similar problem sustained in last Sunday's 52-14 win at Widnes.
Coach Tony Smith recalls full-back Brett Hodgson, winger Joel Monaghan and forwards Michael Monaghan, Garreth Carvell and Trent Waterhouse, who were all rested against the Vikings, but second rower Ben Westwood is still recovering from a knee injury.
"I get the feeling that this is what they have waited for and they have had these games in the back of their minds for a while," Smith told the Warrington Guardian.
"It is a long season, but as you get closer to the finals you start getting a bit more excited about it and they are ready to rip into this play-off series.
"We will be sharper, our defence will be tighter and our kicking game will be better than we have seen this season, and I just think we are ready to go up a peg or two."
St Helens will be without England centre Michael Shenton for Saturday's trip to the Halliwell Jones Stadium.
Shenton has failed to recover from a thumb injury received in last Friday's 26-18 win at Wigan and his place is likely to go to utility back Gary Wheeler.
Back-row rower Chris Flannery is still sidelined with an ankle injury but centre or second rower Sia Soliola is back and caretaker coach Mike Rush has also called winger Ade Gardner in his initial squad.
Last Friday's win over Wigan was Saints' first in three attempts this season and Rush was pleased the club heads into the play-offs with that all-important momentum.
"We put a marker down that we are intent on getting to the Grand Final and going one better," commented Rush.
"There is a little bit of room for improvement and things we will have to get right in the play offs.
"We were proud of our performance but we have to get better. It was about building some momentum ahead of the play offs."
Wolves: Atkins, Bridge, Briers, Carvell, Cooper, Grix, Higham, Hill, Hodgson, McCarthy, J Monaghan, M Monaghan, Morley, Myler, Ratchford, Riley, Solomona, Waterhouse, Wood.
St Helens: Wellens, Gardner, Soliola, Meli, Hohaia, Lomax, Perry, Roby, McCarthy-Scarsbrook, Puletua, Wilkin, Laffranchi, Flanagan, Clough, Wheeler, Dixon, Gaskell, Makinson, Jones.
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First Utility Super League Table
|5||Hull K R||0||0|
|7||Salford Red Devils||0||0|
|First Utility Super League|
|Thursday 5th February|
|20:00||Widnes vs Wigan|
|Friday 6th February|
|20:00||St Helens vs Catalans Dragons|
|Saturday 7th February|
|15:00||Warrington vs Salford|
|Sunday 8th February|
|15:00||Huddersfield vs Hull|
|15:00||Hull K R vs Leeds|
|15:30||Castleford vs Wakefield|
|Thursday 12th February|
|20:00||Salford vs St Helens|
|Friday 13th February|
|20:00||Hull vs Warrington|
|20:00||Leeds vs Widnes|
|20:00||Wigan vs Huddersfield|
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