Saints v Rhinos: Teams
at Langtree Park, Sun. Mar. 25, KO 6.35pm, live on Sky Sports 1HD
Last Updated: 23/03/12 7:23pm
St Helens will be boosted by the return of James Roby, Ade Gardner and Louie McCarthy-Scarsbrook for the visit of Leeds on Sunday.
All three have recovered from injuries and are named in caretaker coach Mike Rush's squad as he takes charge for the first time since Royce Simmons' dismissal.
Jonny Lomax has shaken off a knock but Sia Soliola is still sidelined with a knee problem.
Saints have not won in five matches - their worst run in the Super League era - and Rush and Keiron Cunningham have been given the task of getting their season back on track.
Captain Paul Wellens insists the club can turn their season around as they seek revenge for last year's Grand Final defeat at the hands of Leeds.
Wellens admits their wretched run has taken its toll. "Confidence is always an issue when you lose big games," he said. "I think when you lose confidence, players become anxious, snatching at passes and trying to rush things. That's probably what's happened to us.
"We've got to use this change as a clean slate, we have to ultimately start our season again.
"We'll continue to work hard. I'm just trying to encourage the boys to stay confident and back our own ability.
"I've no doubt that this squad can be successful this year. I think we can compete for the Challenge Cup and I think we can win the Grand Final. I've got that belief and I'm sure the rest of the guys have too."
Leeds coach Brian McDermott says his side are determined not to become distracted by the upheaval among their opponents.
"It was always going to be a big game but their run of results and the change of coach will probably add a bit of extra spice," he said.
"We haven't talked too much about what reaction there might be from the St Helens players. We will prepare for their best performance and know that we need to match it."
The Rhinos will give a debut to 18-year-old stand-off Stevie Ward. "Stevie is an exciting young local talent," said McDermott. "He has worked his way through our academy ranks and has consistently been outstanding in the Under 20s game so far this season. He deserves his shot in the first team.
"He is also a very grounded young man who is always keen to learn from those around him.
"I am sure he will benefit from the experience of being involved this week and take the step up to Super League in his stride."
Winger Lee Smith is also included for only the third time this season but Leeds have been dealt a late blow with the loss of influential half-back Danny McGuire.
The England international picked up a hamstring in training and is set to be sidelined for a fortnight, meaning he's likely to make his return during the busy Easter period.
McDermott said: "Danny suffered the injury in the week and tests have confirmed it will need to be rested."
Paul McShane, who was initially left out of the 19-man squad, is drafted in. Rob Burrow may be asked to switch back to scrum-half from hooker in the absence of McGuire.
St Helens squad: Wellens, Gardner, Shenton, Meli, Hohaia, Lomax, Perry, Roby, McCarthy-Scarsbrook, Puletua, Wilkin, Flannery, Laffranchi, Flanagan, Clough, Wheeler, Magennis, Dixon, Makinson.
Leeds squad: Webb, Jones-Bishop, Watkins, Hardaker, Hall, McShane, Burrow, Leuluai, Peacock, Ablett, Sinfield, Smith, Delaney, Kirke, Clarkson, Griffin, Moore, Hood, Ward.
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Tue 30th Jun
Hull K R34 - 28Salford Red Devils
Wed 1st Jul
Wakefield Wildcats26 - 16Hull FC
Thu 2nd Jul
Warrington WolvesvsWigan Warriors
Fri 3rd Jul
Leeds RhinosvsSt Helens
Sun 5th Jul
Huddersfield Giants0 - 0Hull K R
Hull FC0 - 0Wakefield Wildcats
Salford Red Devils0 - 0Catalans Dragons
Castleford Tigers0 - 0Widnes Vikings
Thu 9th Jul
Wigan WarriorsvsLeeds Rhinos
Fri 10th Jul
St Helens0 - 0Huddersfield Giants
Sun 12th Jul
Hull FC0 - 0Castleford Tigers
Salford Red Devils0 - 0Hull K R
Wakefield Wildcats0 - 0Warrington Wolves
Widnes Vikings0 - 0Catalans Dragons
Thu 16th Jul
Warrington WolvesvsSt Helens
Fri 17th Jul
Hull K RvsHull FC
Leeds Rhinos0 - 0Salford Red Devils
Wigan Warriors0 - 0Widnes Vikings
Sat 18th Jul
Catalans DragonsvsHuddersfield Giants
Sun 19th Jul
Wakefield Wildcats0 - 0Castleford Tigers
Thu 23rd Jul
Hull FCvsWigan Warriors
Fri 24th Jul
St Helens0 - 0Hull K R
Sun 26th Jul
Huddersfield Giants0 - 0Wakefield Wildcats
Leeds Rhinos0 - 0Catalans Dragons
Widnes Vikings0 - 0Salford Red Devils
Castleford Tigers0 - 0Warrington Wolves