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It was the twenty-fourth Super League Grand Final at Old Trafford as the minor premiers, Catalans Dragons, took on the defending champions St Helens with eighty minutes separating both teams from glory.

It was the final that it should have been, the top two sides in the league facing off against one another but most neutrals would be ‘Dragons for a Day’ in the hope that there would be a new name on the trophy in 2021.

The Dragons won two out of the three games that the sides have played, including that memorable last second win at the Magic Weekend, but the bookies had made the Saints the favourites for the win as they expected Grand Final experience to count.

The atmosphere was electric from the kick-off, despite some gaps in the stadia and an empty upper stand. Saints had the upper hand as the Dragons spent their time in defence, managing to keep their line intact.

The Dragons took the lead after getting a penalty on their first foray into the Saints half, James Maloney slotting the ball between the uprights.

A jinking Kevin Naiqama scored the opening try of the game as he mesmerised the Dragons defence and then forced the ball onto the ground with the Catalans tacklers trying to hold him up in goal. Lachlan Coote was unable to add the conversion from wide, Saints with a 4-0 lead.

A high tackle from Benjamin Garcia on Jonny Lomax gave Coote a simple penalty goal opportunity and he drilled the kick between the uprights of twenty-one to double Saints lead.

Both teams lost the ball in quick succession on twenty-four and after a set restart the Dragons were given a penalty in front of the sticks and just ten from the line. Maloney kicked the simple goal to reduce the arrears.

Saints certainly had the best of the first half but took a slender two-point lead into the interval and despite being under pressure for long periods the Catalans Dragons were still in the game after a bruising opening forty minutes.

A high tackle from Tommy Makinson on Fouad Yaha prevented the first Dragons try on forty-five with the Saints winger being shown a yellow card and the Dragons being presented with a penalty.

A forty-eight minute Josh Drinkwater 40-20 put the Dragons in the perfect strike position and on the last tackle a high Drinkwater kick to the corner was tapped back by Tom Davies into the hands of Mike McMeeken to ground over the line, and to put the minor premiers back into the lead. Maloney added the conversion, the Dragons 10-6 ahead.

As the hour mark passed the Dragons maintained their lead but Saints had visibly upped a gear.

On sixty-five Naiqama got his second of the game as he slid in from five metres after collecting a pin-point Lomax grubber kick. As Naiqama left the field following an injury sustained in scoring the try, Coote added the conversion to edge his side into a 12-10 lead with thirteen minutes remaining.

It was the Dragons turn to crank up the pressure as they forced back to back goal line dropouts, but Saints held firm and when they kicked to clear their lines Tom Davies made a big mistake and parried the ball into touch. Try as they might the Dragons couldn’t make the breakthrough as Saints defended for their lives.

Saints held on against a very determined Dragons side to win their third consecutive Grand Final and draw them level with the Leeds Rhinos on eight wins in the modern era. The Dragons were worthy opponents and pushed the Champions every step of the way but in the end, they came up short. All credit to both sides for serving up a great final, and congratulations to Saints on a terrific win.

St Helens: Coote (2G), Makinson (SB on 45), Naiqama (2T), Percival, Grace, Lomax, Dodd, Walmsley, Roby, Lees, Mata’utia, Batchelor, Knowles. Subs: Amor, Paasi, Welsby, McCarthy-Scarsbrook.

Catalans Dragons: Tomkins S, Yaha, Langi, Whare, Davies, Drinkwater, Maloney (3G), Bousquet, McIlorum, Dudson, Whitley, McMeeken (T), Garcia. Subs:  Mourgue, Goudemand, Tomkins J, Kasiano.

Half-Time: 4-6.

Full-Time: 10-12.

Referee: Liam Moore.

Score Progression: 2-0, 2-4, 2-6, 4-6 : HT : (SB), 8-6, 10-6, 10-10, 10-12 : FT.

Venue: Old Trafford, Manchester.




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Posted by RLFANS News Hound on Sat 9th Oct 2021 8:03 PM | Views : 3515 | Replies : 0 | BACK TO STORIES
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MINT RND: 1 France10-30England
WINT RND: 1 FRANCE4-40ENGLAND
This is an inplay table and positions can change as matches are in play.
National Rugby League 2021 ROUND : 25
 PLDFADIFFPTS
Melbourne 24 815 316 499 42
Penrith 24 640 280 360 42
Souths 24 775 453 322 40
Manly 24 744 492 252 32
Sydney 24 636 475 161 32
Parramatta 24 566 457 109 30
Newcastle 24 428 571 -143 24
Gold Coast 24 568 553 15 20
 
Cronulla 24 512 556 -44 20
Canberra 24 481 578 -97 20
St.George 24 474 616 -142 16
NZ Warriors 24 453 624 -171 16
Wests 24 500 714 -214 16
Brisbane 24 446 695 -249 14
NQL Cowboys 24 460 748 -288 14
Canterbury 24 340 710 -370 6
This is an inplay table and positions can change as matches are in play.
Betfred Super League XXVI ROUND : 25
 PLDFADIFFPTSDIFFWP%
Catalans 23 688 398 290 38 172.86 82.61
St.Helens 21 548 229 319 32 239.30 76.19
Warrington 21 588 354 234 31 166.10 73.81
Wigan 25 387 385 2 30 100.52 60
Leeds 24 556 440 116 26 126.36 54.17
Hull KR 20 497 458 39 20 108.52 50
 
Castleford 23 439 552 -113 22 79.53 47.83
Hull FC 21 409 476 -67 17 85.92 40.48
Huddersfield 24 460 516 -56 18 89.15 37.50
Wakefield 24 482 548 -66 18 87.96 37.50
Salford 22 402 586 -184 14 68.60 31.82
Leigh 22 356 870 -514 4 40.92 9.09
This is an inplay table and positions can change as matches are in play.
Betfred Championship 2021 ROUND : 20
 PLDFADIFFPTSDIFFWP%
Toulouse 13 616 112 504 26 550 100
Featherstone 19 817 254 563 34 321.65 94.74
Halifax 19 512 323 189 26 158.51 68.42
Bradford 18 483 455 28 24 106.15 66.67
LondonB 18 504 499 5 21 101 63.89
Batley 19 525 370 155 24 141.89 63.16
 
Whitehaven 20 447 496 -49 21 90.12 52.50
York 19 470 455 15 16 103.30 42.11
Widnes 19 458 509 -51 15 89.98 39.47
Newcastle 18 381 521 -140 13 73.13 36.11
Sheffield 18 382 553 -171 13 69.08 36.11
Dewsbury 19 308 570 -262 13 54.04 34.21
Oldham 19 270 691 -421 5 39.07 13.16
Swinton 20 354 719 -365 3 49.24 7.50
This is an inplay table and positions can change as matches are in play.
Betfred League One 2021 ROUND : 22
 PLDFADIFFPTSDIFFWP%
Barrow 17 596 275 321 27 216.73 79.41
Workington 15 471 310 161 21 151.94 70
Doncaster 18 503 400 103 24 125.75 66.67
Keighley 19 640 399 241 25 160.40 65.79
Crusaders 18 553 438 115 22 126.26 61.11
Hunslet 19 572 466 106 20 122.75 52.63
 
Rochdale 17 505 488 17 17 103.48 50
Coventry 17 407 460 -53 12 88.48 35.29
LondonS 18 292 577 -285 7 50.61 19.44
West Wales 18 208 896 -688 1 23.21 2.78
This is an inplay table and positions can change as matches are in play.
Betfred Womens Super League 2021 ROUND : 9
 PLDFADIFFPTSDIFFWP%
St.HelensW 7 370 36 334 12 1,027.78 85.71
WiganW 6 222 64 158 10 346.88 83.33
YorkW 6 186 102 84 8 182.35 66.67
CastlefordW 6 166 96 70 8 172.92 66.67
BradfordW 8 158 264 -106 6 59.85 37.50
Hudds W 7 104 288 -184 4 36.11 28.57
 
Wire W 8 150 334 -184 4 44.91 25
FeatherstoneW 8 122 338 -216 4 36.09 25
LeedsW 7 364 38 326 14 957.89 100
WakefieldW 7 50 332 -282 0 15.06 0
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