St Helens vs Sydney Roosters WCC preview: What the experts are saying

Dave Kuzio:

St Helens take on defending World Club Challenge winners Sydney Roosters at the Totally Wicked Stadium on Saturday. We all have our own opinions on who will win, but the experts are backing Super League success this weekend with the Saints coming out on top. Do you agree?

READ MORE: Get our free tips preview on St Helens vs Sydney Roosters in the World Club Challenge

When The Saints Go Marching In

St Helens’ James Roby lifts the Super League trophy. (Photo by Martin Rickett/PA Wire/PA Images)

Former Sydney Roosters player and one-time World Club Challenge winner Adrian Morley

Great Britain’s Adrian Morley is sent off after 12 seconds (Photo by Mike Egerton/EMPICS Sport)

“I think in St Helens’ ranks they’ve got the two best front rows in Super League in Alex (Walmsley) and Luke (Thompson),” Morley told Superleague.co.uk. “They were absolutely outstanding in the Grand Final against Salford Red Devils last year. For St Helens to have a chance, those two boys need to stand up – they’ve taken other Super League teams apart, so it will be interesting to see how they go against a quite formidable outfit in the Roosters. I’m really excited to see if St Helens can be as dominant with the champions of Australia as they have been with all the Super League clubs. When St Helens got a new head coach there were question marks about whether or not they’d be as successful. But apart from their hiccup at Warrington Wolves they’ve been absolutely fantastic again this year – beating Salford at home and then a really impressive win away at Hull FC. They’re going to go into this game very, very confident – it normally takes a while for players to learn how the new coach is going to coach and for him to learn how the players play, but he seems to have taken it in his stride, so I can’t see there being too many issues there.”

Former Sydney Roosters player and current Steve Prescott Man of Steel Jackson Hastings

Sydney Rooster’s Anthony Minichello holds off St Helens’s Jason Hooper (L) and John Stanevitch (R) in 2003. (Photo by Gareth Copley/PA Archive/PA Images)

“It’s a big game – obviously the NRL sides are hotly favoured when they come to play our Super League sides, but if any side is going to do it, I think it’s this St Helens side,” he told Superleague.co.uk. “Obviously I played for the Roosters and I’m extremely proud of my time there, but I play in the Super League now and St Helens are flying the flag for the whole of England, so I hope they get the job done. It’s no fluke what St Helens did last year, and I think they’d compete in the NRL, to be honest, and that’s how good I think they are – it’s going to be a tight game, but I actually think they’re going to do it. I think it will be a game that’s going to go down to the wire, but I’m going to say 22-18 to St Helens.”

Former Leeds Rhinos centre and two-time World Club Challenge winner Keith Senior

Leeds Rhinos’s Keith Senior goes over to score a try. (Photo by Anna Gowthorpe/PA Archive/PA Images)

“They were so dominant last year, and I think that squad will keep them going for a good few years anyway,” he told Superleague.co.uk. “They’re moulded together as a team and they’ve gelled as a team – they’ve been together for a long time and there were very few changes this year, and I think that pays dividends going forwards. Everybody wants to keep that team together for as long as they can, because then you get that bonding, that gel and that understanding and that’s what St Helens have got. Definitely I want St Helens to win – even though it’s St Helens and it’s the other side to where I’m from, I want them to win, but it’s a tough call. St Helens have been a quality team and I hope Sydney Roosters bring over the best team they can, but hopefully Saints will turn them over on the day.”

Former St Helens coach and one-time World Club Challenge winner Ellery Hanley

Wigan captain Ellery Hanley holds aloft the Challenge Cup at Wembley. (Photo by PA/PA Archive/PA Images)

“It’s going to be a difficult game for the Sydney Roosters, simply because they’re going to be undercooked, I think,” he told Superleague.co.uk. “St Helens have got a number of games under their belt in friendlies and now three have gone by in the season, so I think it’s going to be a tough game in terms of it being physically demanding for the Roosters. As much training as you can do, for the Roosters, I think it’s always difficult to come to a game when you haven’t played any games, just from a point of timing, speed of the game and catching your breath. And they may just be undercooked in terms of running the right angles and lines, and working under pressure in the collision, as well. I think it’s going to be a difficult game for both sides and there’s a lot at stake, but I think St Helens might just win it after a pretty close and ferocious match and a wonderful spectacle.”