A history-equalling three-peat. St Helens showed grit and determination to down a spirited Catalans Dragons to win their third consecutive Betfred Super League Grand Final.
It was a fond farewell for Kevin Naiqama who crossed for both of St Helens tries – earning the Harry Sunderland Trophy in what was a breath-taking battle at Old Trafford.
After fighting off an early Saints onslaught, the Dragons broke the deadlock during their first real visit to the Saints half with a penalty from experienced half back James Maloney.
St Helens’ pressure finally paid off as Naiqama crossed for the opening try of the contest to put Saints ahead – the Red V finally finding success down their right edge after a sustained ambush. Coote was unable to convert, leaving the score at 2-4.
Saints continued to press and edged further ahead with a Lachlan Coote penalty, putting his side in front by an unconverted try.
When at Old Trafford
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The Dragons wouldn’t go down without a fight and put themselves back within two points just five minutes later – James Maloney kicking a penalty – taking the scores to 6-4 – which it remained up until the break.
The drama continued shortly after the break when Fouad Yaha collected a Josh Drinkwater kick close to the Saints try line as he looked to cross for the Dragons opening try, only to be taken high by Tommy Makinson. After consulting the video referee, Liam Moore sent Makinson to the sin-bin – the first yellow card in a Super League Grand Final.
Catalans made the numerical advantage count in the 50th minute – it was Josh Drinkwater’s boot that was again the orchestrator, this time finding his other winger Tom Davies, who patted the ball back for Mike McMeeken to ground the ball and cross for Catalans opening try of the night. Maloney had ice in his veins to convert and put the Dragons 10-6 ahead.
After piling the pressure on the Dragons defensive line to no avail, Saints finally found a response again through that man Naiqama. He collected a smart kick by Lomax to ground the ball and put Saints level. Coote stepped up to convert Naiqama’s try, putting his in front by 2.
It remained 10-12 up until the final whistle – St Helens completing a mesmeric three-peat to be crowned 2021 Betfred Super League champions.