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Super League - Rugby League: Saints show no signs of slowing

Another round of the 2022 Super League approaches and with it the expectation that St Helens will again be too good for their opposition.

Last week's 28-2 win over Warrington Wolves further demonstrated their advantage over the rest of the competition and the champions are 5/4 to win an unprecedented fourth straight Grand Final.

Their next task is to take on bottom club Toulouse and it feels all but certain that they will be celebrating a sixth win from as many games on Saturday night.

Can anyone stop Saints?

The 2022 Super League season may only be a month old, but there is already a feeling of deja vu about the competition.

As has so often been the case in the recent past, St Helens are the side leading the way and an Old Trafford return on 24th September feels almost inevitable.

While Warrington travelled up the A57 on the back of a defeat to Catalans Dragons, they were still expected to push Kristian Woolf’s men. However, they barely laid a glove on them as Saints ran in five tries.

They are five from five this year and their points difference is +52 better than the second-placed Huddersfield Giants.

Tommy Makinson’s brace on the night took him to seven tries for the season, just one adrift of Warrington’s Josh Charnley, while he has also shared the goalkicking duties with Lewis Dodd.

The decision to give the 20-year-old Dodd the number seven shirt looked a risk, but he has excelled and looks at home in the halves alongside Jonny Lomax.

Woolf’s side have rightly earned comparisons with NRL outfits and they are probably already looking towards September.

More immediately, they have a trip to the south of France to deal with. It is also a case of five on the spin for Toulouse but in the negative. The French side brought joy to their city in storming to promotion last year but have failed to find their feet in Super League.

There were again positives to take from their round five defeat at Wakefield and surely they will eventually win a game.

The likelihood is that such a result will come on home turf at the Stade Ernest Wallon, but it feels almost unfathomable that they will break their duck on Saturday.

Joe Batchelor, Sione Mata’utia, Alex Walmsley and Jack Welsby could all miss Saturday’s game for Saints, but Woolf will still be able to call on Konrad Hurrell, who missed the Wire win through suspension.

With Toulouse 16/1 in the match betting and Saints being priced at 10/11 when handed a -28.5 start, expect the Merseysiders to march on.

Warriors to add to Cas woes

The game which kicks off round six comes on Thursday as Wigan host Castleford Tigers, with the Warriors 1/5 to win but coming into the match having been blasted 28-0 by Catalans Dragons in Perpignan.

Matty Peet's side had shown vulnerability in the previous week's last gasp 29-28 win at Toulouse and Saints' result at the Stade Ernest Wallon may tell Wigan where they stand in the pecking order.

Cas sit 11th and having the second worst defence in the division is costing them, most recently in Saturday's 36-24 reverse at Huddersfield Giants.

The Tigers are 7/2 to win at the DW, but look up against it. Poor defensive structure haunted coach Lee Radford while at Hull FC and the early signs are that history is repeating itself.

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KR unlikely to extinguish Dragons flames

The last time Hull KR travelled to Perpignan was in last year's semi-finals, when despite a spirited performance, they were still second best in a 28-10 defeat.

Things haven't gone as well for the Robins in 2022, winning just two of their last three matches, but they do head to the south of France on the back of a 26-16 victory over Salford Red Devils and are 4/1 to win on Friday.

Catalans Dragons may have gone down to Saints in the opening round but are purring again, winning their last four, with that 28-0 demolition of Wigan their performance of the season so far.

Mitchell Pearce ran in twice and seems to have picked up where predecessor James Maloney left off in the halves and with a double-figures advantage in the two-way handicap, another win is likely for the hosts.

After going so close in 2021, could 2022 be the Dragons' year? They are 7/2 to win the Grand Final.

Rhinos need something special

Last year's run to the semi-finals seemed to signal a new dawn for Leed,s but injuries and suspensions have hit them hard and the Rhinos are 4/7 to get just their second win of 2022 when they head to 6/4 Salford Red Devils on Friday.

The Headingley faithful have been calling for Richard Agar's head in recent weeks and another defeat would only increase the pressure on the boss.

A win over Toulouse in round five eased the pressure on Wakefield Trinity coach Willie Poching and he takes his side to wounded Warrington Wolves on Saturday.

Trinity are 4/1 to grab a surprise victory, with the Wire the clear 1/6 favourites, despite losing their last two to Catalans and Saints.

Finally, Huddersfield could be the price of the round at 6/5 as they head to Hull FC on Sunday.

Is Ian Watson the best coach in Super League? He has a case and having won their final two games of last season, the Giants have taken four victories from five outings in 2022.

Ricky Leutele's hat-trick saw them past Cas last time out and with the second-highest number of points scored in the division, they could well get the better of the Black and Whites, just as they did in July's 40-26 win at the John Smith's Stadium.

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