In a repeat of the Challenge Cup Final, Hull FC were the hosts as a Wigan Warriors side intent on revenge, visited the The KCOM Stadium.
Wiganís coach Wane initially stuck with the same seventeen who were defeated by 18-14 at Wembley a fortnight ago but the very late withdrawal of Joe Burgess saw Liam Marshall come into the starting line up. FCís coach Radford made a number of forced changes for the Airlie Birds with Thompson for Tuimavave, Bowden for Ellis and three changed faces on the bench including Fash, Green and Masimbaashe Matongo making only his fifth appearance since his debut against Wigan two years ago.
A win for Hull would put them within a point of securing a play-off place and keep alive their outside hopes of second (depending on the Rhinos outcome at Castleford). A win for Wigan would lift them into the third play-off place above last nights narrow losers Wakefield Trinity and push tonights hosts into fourth.
Tonightís game at the Beaumont Legal Stadium was critical for both sides. A win for Trinity would lift them up to third place in a congested top of the table and with third placed Hull FC and Wigan playing each other on Friday night it would ensure that they retain a top four place going into the last two games of the season.
A win for Saints would leave them outside the top four but throw them a lifeline for their own scramble for the play-offs. A loss would practically end any hopes of a top four finish.
Saints had a big 41-16 win in Wakefield back in July but Wakefield won the early season game over in St Helens by 16-12.
It's been a busy day in the video review room at the RFL disciplinary.
Out of the weekends Super Eights and Qualifiers they've spotted seven offences which they deem worthy of a charge and another three which have brought forward cautions for the offenders.
Tuesday nights disciplinary is, however, likely to be less busy as only one of the charges brought does not have an associated Early Guilty Plea (EGP) which will mean that the offender will be called in front of the committee.
On paper, the game of the round looked like being Sundayís clash at the Leigh Sports Village between fourth placed Centurions and a Vikings side currently residing in third. The outcome would go some way to suggesting the three sides who would definitely be playing Super League next season.
On Saturday evening the Warrington Wolves were strong favourites as they travelled to a London Broncos side who have pushed sides close in the Qualifiers without getting the points.
Sunday also saw a struggling Catalans Dragons at Halifax, and Hull KR travel to Featherstone.
After a disappointing start to the Qualifiers, London Broncos faced their stiffest test of the competition as they came up against the nailed-on certainties for an automatic Super League 2018 place, the Warrington Wolves.
London knew that a win would lift them into the second of the Million Pound game positions in advance of the Catalans facing Halifax tomorrow at the Shay. A loss would almost certainly signify Championship rugby for 2018.
Warrington made just one change from the side who beat Halifax with Kurt Gidley coming in on the bench after missing the last four. London welcomed back Api Pewhairangi, Eddie Battye, Tom Spencer, Matt Garside and Ben Evans to the side which lost narrowly to Hull KR last time out.
Rarely before has a St. Helens derby with Wigan Warriors borne such importance as tonight's fixture at the Totally Wicked Stadium with both sides knowing that a loss would as good as end their 2017 season. Wigan Warriors were still smarting from last weeks Wembley loss and needed to pick themselves up to get a victory against the old enemy.
Both sides started the game sitting on twenty-seven Super League points and knew that while a loss wouldn't mathematically end their chances of a play-off berth, but would will make it extremely unlikely.
Ben Barba made his St Helens debut, completing his twelve game rugby league suspension after an illicit drugs ban, and since being released by the Cronulla Sharks. Theo Fages was the one to miss out as Jonny Lomax was moved into the halves. Wigan too made a couple of changes due to illness with Tom Davies and Ryan Sutton being replaced by Liam Marshall and Jack Wells.
With the Ladbroke's Challenge Cup safely returned to the trophy cabinet, Hull FC turned their attention to a top two finish and semi-final home advantage in the play-offs. They needed to defeat the Leeds Rhinos at a Headingley which would seem a little less atmospheric than normal as the demolition crews moved into the South Stand. A win for the home side would almost guarantee them a home play-off.
There were a couple of changes for the Leeds Rhinos with Mitch Garbutt returning from injury and on the bench and Rob Burrow being brought from the bench into the starting line up after Joel Moon was a very late withdrawal with a groin tweak in the warm up. Lee Radford made a number of changes to his cup winning side bringing in Steve Michaels for the injured Griffin, Josh Bowden came off the bench for Watts, and Jansin Turgut replaced Minichiello in the second row, Brad Fash and Jordan Thompson were both named on the bench.
If you find yourself at a loose end and craving a bit of live rugby league then why not get yourself to Headingley tomorrow night (Wednesday) for the Yorkshire v. Lancashire Legends game in support of Ryan Hallís and Mark Gleesonís Testimonials.
Some of the greats of the Super League era will be pulling on their boots for a full contact, full eighty minutes, full blooded battle of the counties as a Ryan Hall coached Yorkshire take on a Sam Tomkins coached Lancashire.