St Helens lifted a record breaking 10th League Leaders’ Shield yesterday but their achievement didn’t really make the headlines.
This is because the trophy will always live in the shadow of the Grand Final and the Challenge Cup Final which have always been the more celebrated trophies of the three on offer on this side of the planet.
Today, having been named in the Super League Dream Team once again, Saints star Alex Walmsley spoke passionately about what it meant to lift the trophy as well as the fact it’s a shame it’s not celebrated more: “It’s not talked about as much and it’s a shame really. Of the three it’s probably the most underappreciated but for us as a team we were really proud and we were really happy about it and want to make a bit of a song and dance about it even though we’ve got bigger games coming up.
“It’s especially because of the disruptions we’ve had, the injuries we’ve had. To still come out on top in what’s been a very competitive Super League year, it’s a huge achievement.”
When asked if there needs to be a bigger reward for finishing top, Walmsley agreed but dismissed the idea that top spot should get an automatic Grand Final spot believing the play-offs to be a key facet of Super League: “I don’t know, what makes our sport exciting and different is we have the Grand Final, the play-off system and you’d be taking some excitement away from that if you guarantee a Grand Final spot for top spot and you wouldn’t want to go three weeks without a game anyway.
“I think there should be more emphasis on it whether it’s off the top of my head do you incorporate it into the World Club Challenge somehow? I think there needs to be a bigger emphasis on it than what’s made, I don’t know how you do that. That’s for bigger people.”