The legacy of this St Helens side now resides between the reigns of two of the town’s greatest sons.
Keiron Cunningham’s departure in 2017 and the arrival of Justin Holbrook sparked the rise of St Helens as they defied the odds to finish fourth that year and were a penalty away from making the Grand Final.
Then in 2018, domination began as Saints won a record number of games to finish top of the table but missed out on both major finals, something they would remedy in 2019 winning a first Grand Final in five years.
Since then, they’ve won three more to make it four on the spin, added a third League Leaders’ Shield and a Challenge Cup, but one accolade is yet to taken by this all conquering side which will now come under the reign of a different St Helens legend in Paul Wellens who replaces Kristian Woolf at the helm in 2023.
That accolade is being the best in the world which they certainly have competition for the in the shape of an outstanding Penrith side who have won the last two NRL Grand Finals and contested the last three.
It is every rugby league fan’s dream to see these two meet and after both sides talked up a potential encounter after their respective Grand Final wins with Penrith boss Ivan Cleary even saying “let’s do it”, the possibility is growing.
Yesterday, the possibility grew that little bit more as in his first press conference as St Helens coach Wellens confirmed that discussions were ongoing about the World Club Challange in 2023: “The club are in discussions about the World Club Challenge and how that may look. It would be a fantastic opportunity to take on a fantastic Penrith team, what a team they are.
“But what this team has done not only last year but the years previous, they’ve earnt that opportunity and we’ve earnt as a club to do that.”