On Saturday, Catalan Dragons take on St Helens in the Super League Grand Final at Old Trafford in what will be Catalan’s first-ever appearance at the Theatre of Dreams in this final.
This will be St Helens record-extending 13th Grand Final following their 36-8 demolition of Leeds Rhinos on Friday night, whilst Catalans reached this stage by defeating Hull Kingston Rovers 28-10 at Stade Gilbert Brutus, giving them the possibility to become the first-ever non-English winners of the Super League.
In the league itself prior to the playoffs, Catalans finished on 38 points from 23 matches, equating to an 82.61% win percentage, which was far superior to anybody else in the division, as St Helens were the second-best team win percentage-wise, having won 16 of 21 matches, ultimately meaning that the strongest two sides have made it to the most prestigious stage of the season.
Throughout the season there have been some outstanding performers in the Catalan’s ranks, as the likes of legendary Wigan Warriors figure Sam Tomkins was named as the Man of Steel, whilst James Maloney finished as the top points scorer in the division with 226. They have also shown that they have a good winning mentality, by hammering the likes of Leigh Centurions 64-0, which is the biggest home victory of the 2021 Super League season, but questions will be asked, how will they fare on the big occasion?
If there is any team that you would ideally not want to have to play against in a Grand Final right now, it would be St Helens who are serial winners of this competition having done so eight times and are the back to back champions following a 23-6 victory over Salford Red Devils in the 2019 final, before playing out a tight and closely-fought affair against Wigan Warriors in last year’s edition via an 8-4 scoreline.
The last time these two sides met at a traditional rugby ground was back in August where St Helens ran out as 34-12 winners thanks to tries from Tommy Makinson, Lewis Dodd, Regan Grace, Joe Batchelor and Lachlan Coote, with the latter converting seven kicks.
Although when these two sides met at Magic Weekend at St James’ Park, Newcastle, they played out a thrilling match for the neutrals to watch, as Catalans recovered from 18-6 down to win the match 31-30 thanks to Maloney’s drop goal in golden point extra time. This victory for the Dragons was monumental as it sealed their first-ever Super league Leaders’ Shield against their nearest challengers.
There will be plenty of questions asked to how much this result will play on the St Helens player’s minds, but Catalans will know that they can’t afford another slow start or else they will likely pay for it with Super League Grand Finals usually being settled by tight scorelines.
Prediction: Catalans to win 9/4