ST HELENS’ in-form winger Tom Makinson expects tonight’s top of the table clash with Leeds Rhinos to live up to the hype.
The showdown between the competition’s top two – and only remaining unbeaten teams – has been billed as the biggest match of the season so far and a possible Grand Final rehearsal.
“I can’t wait for it,” said Makinson (right), who is First Utility Super League’s joint-top try scorer, with six in as many matches.
“Leeds are on fire at the minute, they are playing really well and we are doing good ourselves. We are the top two in the table, so it should be a great game and it’s one we’re all looking forward to.”
Makinson said he has been impressed with how Leeds have performed so far this term. “They have got a star-studded line up across their squad and so have we,” he said. “It should be a great match-up, from one to 17. There’s talent everywhere.”
Both clubs boast young, British outside-backs and that could be the most exciting contest tonight.
“We’ve got really good backs and I watched Leeds last week and they have got a frightening backline,” he said. “I have got a lot of admiration for Kallum Watkins at the minute. I think he is having an unbelievable year and he’s obviously a great centre.
“They have got Zak Hardaker (pictured right) at full-back and two great wingers, so it is going to be a great contest.”
The fact most of the backs likely to be on show tonight are English is “the best thing about it”, according to Makinson.
Tipped as a future Test player himself, he said: “There’s some great Aussies out there, but we are proving that there’s some good British backs and hopefully we can match them one day. We are certainly striving to do that.”
Makinson, who is also Saints’ goal kicker, will be a key man.
“I am absolutely loving it at the minute,” he said. “I am up in the try scoring chart, which is good. Everybody wants to score tries and improve their own game.
“I don’t think there’s a bigger challenge than going up against Ryan Hall. He is one of the best wingers on the planet, so to pitch myself against him I am going to have to give everything and it will be a great contest.”
Saints have been hit by injuries and suspensions and will be without star players including half-back Luke Walsh (pictured right).
“He is one of the best No 7s in the league, if not the best,” Makinson said.
“He has only played four games for us and everybody can see how good he is, but we have got other good players.
“There’s no excuses, we have got good people who can come in and we are going in firing.”