St Helens vs Catalans Dragons: Back the Saints to March in again
Here at BettingOdds we are once again expanding our sports coverage, and this season we will be looking at the biggest televised games from the Betfred Super League from a betting perspective...
The Betfred Super League season begins with a bang on Thursday night with a rematch of last year's blockbuster Grand Final between 2021 champions St Helens and 2021's league leaders Catalans Dragons. Live on Sky Sports from the Totally Wicked Stadium, fans of the 13 man code will be hoping for as good a game as we saw back in October between these two sides in the showpiece game at Old Trafford. Saints came away triumphant that night and secured a historic three-peat of titles after a hard fought 12-10 victory. The game was not without controversy as those of a Catalonian persuasion raged against the decision not to send off Saints star Tommy Makinson with the match in the balance after a dangerous try saving tackle on winger Fouad Yaha.
Both sides have recruited well in the off season and will fancy their chances of at least matching last year's achievements, so this could be a sensational start for Super League 2022.
St Helens vs. Catalans Dragons Tips
The first tip of the season is to get with the dominant side of the current rugby league era on the handicaps in backing the Saints to win by 9 points or more. The same game last campaign saw Saints march to a 34-12 win over an understrength Dragons outfit and although both 17s will be much changed, the home team's quality is evident to see. In Jack Welsby, handed the number one jersey this season after the departure of Lachlan Coote to Hull Kingston Rovers, they have arguably the most exciting young British talent in the game and with another pre-season under his belt it is hard to envisage Welsby not tormenting opposition defences all year long. The ageless James Roby will be going for one last dance in 2022 and can be expected to still perform admirably whenever called upon, and big Alex Walmsley in his testimonial season will be looking to dominate the big visiting French pack. With the slick halves combination of Jonny Lomax and Lewis Dodd controlling the side and the exciting addition of Will Hopoate in the centres to add to an already stacked St Helens backline, the champions seem to have no weak spots.
This game should start in a full blooded manner and be a tight and aggressive encounter until the last quarter, when St Helens' speed and strength will catch up with the Dragons and hopefully the hosts pull away to remind everyone why they are the team to beat once again in 2022.
Next up we have an anytime try scorer selection, and this should be a player familiar to Super League punters in the returning dummy half dynamo Joey Lussick. The Australian was a firm fans' favourite last time he plied his trade on these shores with Salford, and the main reason behind this was his try-scoring ability. There was no one better in the competition at darting over from close range on the back of a quick play-the-ball back in Lussick's days with the Red Devils than him and now he has returned from a spell in the NRL, he will be used as a bench weapon by the all conquering Saints. Expect to see him crossing the whitewash plenty of times this campaign despite the potential for limited game time.
With James Roby still taking the mantle as Saints' starting hooker, Lussick will be expertly deployed like a silent assassin by coach Kristian Woolf to maximise his scooting ability after Saints' starting forwards have tired out opposition defences. As previously mentioned, the Dragons have one of the biggest packs in Super League, so Lussick will be licking his lips at the prospect of attacking the line defended by tired big men upon his introduction. Odds of 7/2 underestimate his chances of getting his Saints career off to the perfect start in front of his new adoring fans with a trademark try from close range.