2020 Review: St Helens

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Our final Super League club review looks at the season of the champions St Helens. Andrew Ferguson assesses their season from the opening whistle to that dramatic Grand Final finish.

St.Helens opened their season with a 40 point hammering of Salford, but won just 1 of their next 4 games before the competition went into lockdown.

When the game resumed, St.Helens came out all powerful and destroyed all before them. They had a hiccup in the Challenge Cup Quarter Final, losing to Warrington by 2 points, but their demolitions of Leeds (twice), Catalans (twice) and Wigan made it clear just how much better they were than the rest of the competition.

They hammered Catalans 48-2 in the Preliminary Final, advancing to the Grand Final, where they won a gripping Grand Final with a stunning last gasp try.

Turning Point

August. When the competition resumed, St.Helens won 12 of their 14 games to finish alongside Wigan at the top of the table, and went on to win the title with relative ease. Saints were on a completely other level to the rest of the competition.

What Worked

Everything. Half of Saints games in 2020 saw them keep their opponents scoreline in single digits, 3 of each were scoreless and 4 were tryless. Their defence conceded an average of just 11.47 points per game. Meanwhile their attack was also amazing, scoring more points than any other side, averaging 27.59 points per game, second only to Catalans average of 28.92 per game.

What Didn't Work

For a team that lost just 5 games all year, scored more points than everyone else, conceded less than everyone else and won the Premiership, it's hard to see how anything went wrong.

Best Player

Jonny Lomax and Alex Walsmley were both brilliant in 2020, playing some of their best and most consistent footy, with both being rewarded with selection in the Super League dream team at the end of the season. But Morgan Knowles was the absolute stand out. The loose forward was an absolute toiler, especially in defence and was duly named as the St.Helens player of the year, as well as being named in the Dream Team as well.

Rookies

Half a dozen rookies made their club and Super League debut in 2020. Young playmaker Lewis Dodd appeared in 3 games, while Jake Wingfield, Matty Foster, Nico Rizzelli and Ben Davies all played the 1 game in 2020.

Looking Ahead

After picking up former player and Test star James Graham mid-season, the gritty forward decided to retire after winning just his second Premiership with the club, after his first back in 2006. Saints have also moved on Joseph Paulo and Dominique Peyroux who are both joining Toulouse, while Jack Ashworth (Huddersfield), Callum Hazzard (North Wales) and Joe Sharratt (Barrow) are also heading to new clubs in 2021.

St.Helens have made some big signings to bolster their side for next year, signing 3 strong players from the NRL in Joel Thompson (Manly), Agnatius Paasi (Warriors) and Sione Mata'utia (Newcastle). They've also acquired Dan Norman from the London Broncos.

It's hard to see Saints being anything less than favourites once again in 2021.

2020 results

RoundDateOppositionResultScoreCoachCaptainVenue
SL R1Jan 31stSalfordW48 -  8WoolfLomaxTotally Wicked
SL R2Feb 6thWarringtonL 0 - 19WoolfLomaxHalliwell Jones
SL R3Feb 16thHull FCW32 - 18WoolfLomaxKCOM Stadium
SL R6Mar 6thHuddersfieldL10 - 12WoolfRobyTotally Wicked
SL R7Mar 15thCastlefordL14 - 28WoolfRobyMend-a-Hose
SL R4Aug 2ndCatalansW34 -  6WoolfRobyEmerald Headingley
SL R8Aug 9thLeedsW48 -  0WoolfRobyEmerald Headingley
SL R9Aug 16thCastlefordW10 -  0WoolfRobyTotally Wicked
SL R10Aug 30thHull KRW32 - 18WoolfRobyHalliwell Jones
SL R11Sep 4thHuddersfieldW54 -  6WoolfLomaxEmerald Headingley
SL R12Sep 11thHull KRW21 - 20WoolfRobyTotally Wicked
CC QFSep 19thWarringtonL18 - 20WoolfLomaxAJ Bell Stadium
SL R14Sep 29thWiganW42 -  0WoolfRobyAJ Bell Stadium
SL R15Oct 9thWakefieldW20 - 16WoolfRobyEmerald Headingley
SL R16Oct 15thWakefieldW48 -  6WoolfRobyHalliwell Jones
SL R17Oct 23rdLeedsW40 -  8WoolfRobyTotally Wicked
SL R18Oct 26thSalfordL10 - 12WoolfGrahamEmerald Headingley
SL R19Oct 30thWiganL 6 - 18WoolfRobyTotally Wicked
SL PFNov 20thCatalansW48 -  2WoolfRobyTotally Wicked
SL GFNov 27thWiganW 8 -  4WoolfRobyKCOM Stadium