St Helens' new Langtree Park Stadium will host its first Super League match tonight on what will be an historic occasion for the Saints when they take on Salford City Reds. Salford (+24 Match Handicap)must put the disappoint of their opening weekend loss at home to Castleford Tigers in their own new Salford City Stadium as they face last season's Grand Final runners up.
St Helens will be without Jamie Foster who notched up 18 points in last weekend's 34-24 win over the London Broncos (formerly Harlequins RL). The winger picked up a thigh injury and is set to be replaced by former England international Ade Gardner (8/1 First Try Scorer).
Saints (-24 Match Handicap) are boosted by the return of forward Tony Puletua and loose forward Chris Flannery is also available for selection. However Mark Flanagan is out and Gary Wheeler will continue to cover for injured England centre Michael Shenton.
St Helens started the season well last Saturday, coming back from a half-time deficit to win 34-24 against the Broncos. They also boast a good record against their North West neighbours, having run in 26 tries in three successive league victories over Salford.
Salford have lost hooker Wayne Godwin and Sean Gleeson at centre. Utility man Stuart Howarth is set to deputise at hooker with forward Shannon McPherson coming in for Gleeson. Coach Phil Veivers has called up a number of players including forward Shannon McPherson who signed in the close season from the South Sydney Rabbitohs.
Salford did beat Saints at The Willows in May 2010, the then on-loan Matty Smith (28/1 First Try Scorer) scoring a hat-trick against his parent club. The former St Helens player was also on the scoresheet in the Reds' opening weekend 24-10 home defeat against Castleford, scoring the first try when Salford too christened their own new stadium.
St Helens: Gardner, Soliola, Meli, Hohaia, Lomax, Perry, Roby, McCarthy-Scarsbrook, Puletua, Wilkin, Flannery, Laffranchi, Clough, Wheeler, Dixon, Gaskell, Makinson, Hale, Ashe.
Salford: Patten, Broughton, Moon, Gibson, Williams, Holdsworth, Smith, Jewitt, Sidlow, James, Ashurst, McPherson, Wild, Nero, Adamson, Owen, Howarth, Gledhill, Boyle.