St Helens host Salford today in a mouth watering semi-final the victor of which will join Leeds in the Grand Final next week.
For Saints, it’s all about pursuing a record breaking fourth consecutive title whilst Salford’s story is a defiant fairytale against the odds.
A player loved by both as a former Grand Finalist with both teams, Mark Flanagan this week told Serious About Rugby League just how he thinks the game will go focusing on the loss of Brodie Croft and Alex Walmsley: “The best game breaker for either team being out – Brodie Croft and Alex Walmsley – is big. I think Saints will win, I think if Brodie would have been fit I’d have gone the other way.
“He’s had such a big impact on Salford’s attack and the way they attack, very expansive, the play wide, they’re very flamboyant bringing the centres and backs into the game, but without Brodie they’ll struggle to play that game plan and that’s what would really worry Saints.
“Saints have been there and done it for a long time. They’ve got big experience in those games and they’ll be able to contain Salford a lot more without Brodie Croft.
“There’s not as much experience in the squad as in previous years because they’ve got quite an injury toll do Saints but I think Saints just.”
So, Flanagan thinks it’ll be the Saints to join Leeds in Manchester next week but he’s not entirely sure due to Walmsley’s absence with Flanagan making a pretty bold statement about his former teammate: “It’s just whether they can do it without the man in the middle who is probably the most devastating ball carrier we’ve had in the history of Super League I think.
“I don’t think there’s been a front rower who can make as many breaks, score as many tries or change a game with one big carry like he does.”