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St Helens made it a threepeat in a dramatic Grand Final winning 12-10 against League Leader Shield winners Catalans Dragons tonight at Old Trafford.
The Saints marched on and cemented their status as the top dog in Super League with a third straight Grand Final success led by a double by Harry Sunderland Trophy winner and departing Kevin Naiqama in a tight tussle in Manchester tonight.
In a world where change is the only constant, I think there is another in Super League - St Helens lifting the trophy on Grand Final day. It was another thrilling finish between two class sides but the Saints showed once again, it will take a huge effort to wrestle that Super League trophy from their grasp.
Both these sides entertained across the season and they delivered a fitting denouement to a fantastic 2021 Super League season. The game was physical and no quarter was given between two sides who were the clear top two this season. It took several moments of class to unlock the two ferocious defenses.
The first points of the contest came from the boot. In his final game as a professional James Maloney piloted through an early penalty goal to give the Catalans a 2-nil lead in a game where points were at a premium tonight. Maloney added another goal from the tee to get his side within two at the break, 6-4.
St Helens made a point from the opening whistle with their tough defense and it helped them create the first of only three four-pointers in the game. A sweeping move to the right gave Kevin Naiqama the space to dive over out wide to make it 4-2. Lachlan Coote atoned for his first miss with a penalty goal to stretch their lead out to 6-2.
Coming into the second half, the Dragons had the ideal start. Saints were reduced to 12 men after Tom Makinson was given a yellow card for a high tackle. Dragons profited during that spell with forward Mike McMeeken quickest to the ball to make it 10-6 to the French side.
Going past the hour mark, both sides were exhausted but there was one final push to lift the trophy. St Helens have been the class of Super League in the last few years and they created another moment late in the contest.
A delightful short kick from Johnny Lomax saw Naiqama fly onto the ball and despite smashing into a defenders knee, scored his second try of the game and once again, put the Saints back ahead 12-10 into the final five minutes of the game.
Catalans scratched and clawed in the final moments to find something and reproduce the magical finish which saw them triumph in Magic Round. Unfortunately their fire was extinguished by a talented but tough St Helens side in a fitting decider to the season.
Catalans Dragons 10 - St Helens 12
Venue: Old Trafford
Halftime Score: Catalans Dragons 4 St Helens 6
CATALANS DRAGONS (10)
Tries: Mike Mcmeeken
Conversions: James Maloney (1/1)
Penalty Goals: James Maloney (2/2)
ST HELENS (12)
Tries: Kevin Naiqama (2)
Conversions: Lachlan Coote (1/2)
Penalty Goals: Lachlan Coote (1/1)