Super League Grand Final talking points

Published by
Peter Kavinsky

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The Super League grand final takes place at Old Trafford on Saturday as current champions St Helens take on Leeds.

Saints beat Salford to earn a place in their fourth straight final while Leeds overcame Catalans Dragons and Wigan to progress to their first showpiece since 2017.

Here we take a look at the pre-game talking points.

Leeds are in good shape

Leeds beat Wigan in the semi-finals (Nigel French/PA)

(PA wire)

It has been a two-half season for the Rhinos, who looked set to face a battle to stay in the top flight when the sides met earlier in the season as St Helens lost 26-0 at Headingly.

The Rhinos have since changed coaches, with Rohan Smith now at the wheel.

The Rhinos looked an unlikely candidate to make the play-offs, but finished the season strong and won 11 times in their last 13 games, including play-off wins over Wigan and the Catalans.

Leeds will be hoping their form secures a first Super League title in five years.

Woolf’s Last Game

Kristian Woolf will bid farewell to St Helens after Saturday’s showpiece (Will Matthews/PA)

(PA wire)

Kristian Woolf will return to Australia after the game after three years in charge of Saints, overseeing one of the most successful spells in club history.

The 47-year-old helped win the Challenge Cup for the first time in 13 years and the Super League title in each of his first two campaigns, while St Helens seek four consecutive Grand Final victories for the first time. times in the history of the competition.

Woolf has the opportunity to become the first manager to win the Grand Final three times, the Australian is currently tied with Brian McDermott and Brian McLennan with two titles.

Roby equals the final record

James Roby is on track for his 11th Grand Final appearance (Zac Goodwin/PA)

(PA Archive)

St Helens hooker James Roby has made over 500 appearances for the club, having only represented Saints.

He could equal a record set by former Leeds stalwart Jamie Peacock by making his 11th Grand Final on Saturday.

The 36-year-old has won the Super League’s most coveted award five times (2006, 2014, 2019, 2020 and 2021), but a loss at the weekend means he could become the first man to lose six Grand Finals having already been on the losing side for St Helens in five successive seasons between 2007 and 2011, three of those defeats against Leeds.

A player of the match performance for the veteran will also see him become the first man to lift the Harry Sunderland Trophy three times.

Sutcliffe’s last appearance

Liam Sutcliffe will play his last match before moving to Hull (Will Matthews/PA)

(PA Archive)

Loose Leeds striker Liam Sutcliffe is currently the club’s longest-serving player having spent the past nine years with them, coming through the youth system.

But he will pack his bags and leave for Hull after the final whistle on Saturday.

The 27-year-old has made 221 appearances for the Rhinos since making his first-team debut in 2013, making 11 appearances for the club in the 2015 treble campaign, and will look to retire with another Grand Final winner. medal, to add to his 2017 triumph.

Records will be broken

St Helens equaled Leeds’ record of three consecutive Super League wins, set in 2009 (Anna Gowthorpe/PA)

(PA Archive)

Whether intended or not, Saturday’s showpiece is destined to break Super League records.

Two of the most successful teams in league history will go head-to-head and whichever team gets their hands on the prize will set a new record for most Grand Final wins, having both won won the Super League trophy eight times.

The Saints could be the first team to make it four on the rebound, with Leeds having previously set the record for consecutive wins in 2007, 2008 and 2009.

But on the other hand, should St Helens taste defeat they would equal Wigan’s unfortunate record of six defeats at the last hurdle.

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Peter Kavinsky

Peter Kavinsky is the Executive Editor at cablefreetv.org

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