This season St Helens are bidding to become the first team to win a third straight Super League Grand Final since Leeds managed the hat-trick of titles in 2009. Saints were successful at Old Trafford in 2019, beating Salford 23-6. They then defended their crown with a victory over Wigan in a low-scoring contest last November at the KCOM Stadium.
Kristian Woolf’s side will become just the second team in the Super League era to win the Grand Final three years running if successful in October. Currently, the bookmakers make St Helens their favourites in the outright market for the Grand Final, as they have rugby league odds of 15/8, with last season’s runners-up just behind them at 9/4. This will be their 16th championship, which will put them six titles behind rivals Wigan, so it is sure to be an interesting one.
Trio of NRL Players Joined Ahead Of 2021 Campaign
Saints were boosted in the off-season with the trio of signings from the NRL. Joel Thompson, Agnatius Paasi, and Sione Mata’utia have arrived at the Totally Wicked Stadium and should give the squad a big boost.
Thompson joins the Merseyside club from the Manly Warringah Sea Eagles. The second-row forward is very experienced with 235 games under his belt in the NRL. He has represented the indigenous All-Stars and the NSW County Origin.
Tonga international Paasi has signed a two-year deal with the Saints. He has already made a big impression as he was handed the Man of the Match award in his side’s victory over Leeds in the Challenge Cup.
Another signing who has international experience is Sione Mata’utia. He has played for both Australia and Samoa. He was released from his contract with the Newcastle Knights in order to sign for St Helens and gives Woolf lots of options.
Saints Unlikely to Lack Motivation
Since he picked up the reins from Justin Holbrook, Woolf has made St Helens even tougher mentally and physically. It, therefore, seems implausible that his side will lack any motivation this season or be complacent.
Woolf will be fully aware that he has the best squad in the Super League after improving the champions defensively. This was evident in the Grand Final last year as they conceded just four points in the win. His players appear to take as much pleasure now at stopping the opposition as scoring tries themselves.
Expect to see more young players blooded into the first team this season. Joe Batchelor, Aaron Smith, and Jack Welsby have all shown a lot of promise over the last couple of years. Woolf is prepared to give youngsters a chance in his team if he feels they are good enough to compete at that level.
The Grand Final this year takes place on the 9th of October. A victory for St Helens would ensure they add their name to the conversation for being one of the best teams in the Super League era. It would also set them up for an unprecedented fourth Super League crown next year.