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Super League match preview: St Helens v Catalan Dragons
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St Helens and Catalan Dragons will be looking to put disappointing Easter periods behind them when they clash in front of the Sky Sports cameras at Langtree Park on Friday night.
Saints have experienced a difficult start under new coach Nathan Brown, with a host of senior players missing games through injury, and they are out of Super League's top four after losing two of their three matches over Easter.
French side Catalan also come into the match in indifferent form having suffered back-to-back defeats to Leeds Rhinos and Hull FC and currently occupy seventh place, one below the Saints.
New Zealand international Lance Hohaia remains confident St Helens can still mount a title challenge and believes that, with the progress of the club's plethora of promising youngsters, the future looks rosy.
"We're still a work in progress," he said. "We've had a lot of key players out for the last three or four weeks and the young guys who have come in have done really well.
"To be sitting fourth equal after Easter is not a bad place to be. I think we've used 30 players already, whereas last year we only used 28 all season.
"There's a great development programme at the Saints and the kids know what it takes to be premier league side players."
Carl Forster is drafted into the Saints line-up in the only squad change from last week's 22-14 defeat at Hull KR - replacing the injured Mark Flanagan.
The visiting Dragons will be without forward Olivier Elima for the trip to Langtree Park after the 29-year-old suffered a rupture to a biceps tendon last week.
The France captain, who has left the team's Manchester training camp, joins Scott Dureau and Brent Webb on the Perpignan outfit's long-term injury list.
But Catalan are boosted by the return of half-back Thomas Bosc, winger Damien Blanch and centre Daryl Millard, who all missed the defeat at Hull through injury.
St Helens: Wellens, Turner, Soliola, Meli, Hohaia, McCarthy-Scarsbrook, Wilkin, Laffranchi, Clough, Jones, Makinson, Forster, Ashe, Greenwood, Walmsley, Swift, Percival, Tilley, Howarth.
Catalan Dragons: Blanch, Pryce, Taia, Bosc, Henderson, Casty, Menzies, Anderson, Mounis, Barthau, Pelissier, Larroyer, Millard, Simon, Fakir, Paea, Baitieri, Vaccari, Escarç.
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Super League Table
|9||Hull K R||24||21|
|10||Salford Red Devils||24||19|
|13||Bradford Bulls *||24||8|
|Thursday 28th August|
|20:00||Warrington vs Huddersfield|
|Friday 29th August|
|20:00||Widnes vs Wigan|
|20:00||Hull vs Hull K R|
|20:00||Leeds vs St Helens|
|Saturday 30th August|
|17:00||Catalan Dragons vs London Broncos|
|Sunday 31st August|
|15:00||Wakefield vs Salford|
|15:30||Castleford vs Bradford|
|Thursday 4th September|
|20:00||St Helens vs Warrington|
|Friday 5th September|
|20:00||Wigan vs Leeds|
|Sunday 7th September|
|15:00||Salford vs London Broncos|
|Sunday 17th August|
|Bradford 34 - 28 Hull|
|London Broncos 40 - 36 Leeds|
|Huddersfield 28 - 14 Widnes|
|Friday 15th August|
|St Helens 40 - 16 Wakefield|
|Salford 34 - 22 Catalan Dragons|
|Warrington 48 - 10 Castleford|
|Thursday 14th August|
|Hull K R 14 - 14 Wigan|
|Sunday 3rd August|
|Castleford 64 - 18 London Broncos|
|Widnes 28 - 10 Hull K R|
|Wakefield 18 - 36 Huddersfield|
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