Wolves v Saints: Teams
At Halliwell Jones, Saturday September 14, kick-off 6pm
Last Updated: 15/09/12 8:05pm
Warrington tackle St Helens at Halliwell Jones on Saturday evening with the winners just one game away from reaching this year's Grand Final.
It is second versus third in the Super League table as the Challenge Cup winners take on a Saints side who won away at Wigan on the final weekend of the season.
Wolves boss Tony Smith is no stranger to Old Trafford after helping the Leeds Rhinos to Grand Final success in 2004 and 2007.
Mike Rush, who is being replaced by ex-Huddersfield coach Nathan Brown for 2013, has transformed Saints' league results after replacing Royce Simmons earlier in the campaign.
Warrington's utility back Stefan Ratchford has recovered from a knee injury, but loose forward Ben Harrison will miss Saturday's tie with a similar problem sustained in last Sunday's 52-14 win at Widnes.
Coach Tony Smith recalls full-back Brett Hodgson, winger Joel Monaghan and forwards Michael Monaghan, Garreth Carvell and Trent Waterhouse, who were all rested against the Vikings, but second rower Ben Westwood is still recovering from a knee injury.
"I get the feeling that this is what they have waited for and they have had these games in the back of their minds for a while," Smith told the Warrington Guardian.
"It is a long season, but as you get closer to the finals you start getting a bit more excited about it and they are ready to rip into this play-off series.
"We will be sharper, our defence will be tighter and our kicking game will be better than we have seen this season, and I just think we are ready to go up a peg or two."
St Helens will be without England centre Michael Shenton for Saturday's trip to the Halliwell Jones Stadium.
Shenton has failed to recover from a thumb injury received in last Friday's 26-18 win at Wigan and his place is likely to go to utility back Gary Wheeler.
Back-row rower Chris Flannery is still sidelined with an ankle injury but centre or second rower Sia Soliola is back and caretaker coach Mike Rush has also called winger Ade Gardner in his initial squad.
Last Friday's win over Wigan was Saints' first in three attempts this season and Rush was pleased the club heads into the play-offs with that all-important momentum.
"We put a marker down that we are intent on getting to the Grand Final and going one better," commented Rush.
"There is a little bit of room for improvement and things we will have to get right in the play offs.
"We were proud of our performance but we have to get better. It was about building some momentum ahead of the play offs."
Wolves: Atkins, Bridge, Briers, Carvell, Cooper, Grix, Higham, Hill, Hodgson, McCarthy, J Monaghan, M Monaghan, Morley, Myler, Ratchford, Riley, Solomona, Waterhouse, Wood.
St Helens: Wellens, Gardner, Soliola, Meli, Hohaia, Lomax, Perry, Roby, McCarthy-Scarsbrook, Puletua, Wilkin, Laffranchi, Flanagan, Clough, Wheeler, Dixon, Gaskell, Makinson, Jones.
First Utility Super League
Tue 30th Jun
Hull K R34 - 28Salford Red Devils
Wed 1st Jul
Wakefield Wildcats26 - 16Hull FC
Thu 2nd Jul
Warrington Wolves17 - 6Wigan Warriors
Fri 3rd Jul
Leeds Rhinos46 - 18St Helens
Sun 5th Jul
Huddersfield Giants32 - 14Hull K R
Hull FC31 - 24Wakefield Wildcats
Salford Red Devils18 - 14Catalans Dragons
Castleford Tigers34 - 20Widnes Vikings
Thu 9th Jul
Wigan WarriorsvsLeeds Rhinos
Fri 10th Jul
St HelensvsHuddersfield 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
Super League play-offs Week 1
St Helens forward Alex Walmsley could miss the Super League playoffs after he was charged with a grade C offence.
Phil Clarke explains why Warrington should win the Grand Final - and why the Hull sides won't.
Phil Clarke looks at what Super League can do to attract more fans to the first round of the play-offs.