Last night was in the view of many a dress rehearsal for the Grand Final as Wigan Warriors hosted St Helens who knew a win would see them reclaim the League Leaders’ Shield for the first time since 2019 and add to their record of already having the most in Super League history by far.
But the Saints were met by a counter-attacking masterclass from the Warriors who absorbed all the pressure the Champions put on them and shone in attack as they won 30-10 with Bevan French claiming a delightful double.
It maintained Wigan’s unbeaten home record, kept the race for the League Leaders’ Shield technically alive but struck a vital psychological blow to the Champions as Old Trafford comes into view.
After the game, Brian Carney asked studio guest and St Helens legend Paul Sculthorpe who he foresaw as the eventual Grand Finalists and he admitted that the two teams they’d just seen were the duo he expected to meet at the Theatre of Dreams in the Grand Final.
However, Sky Sports pundit Phil Clarke then had his say with a surprise pick for who he’d like to see make the Super League Grand Final.
He said: “I’d like to see the Giants make an appearance” having earlier in the broadcast described Ian Watson’s Huddersfield Giants as his club of the year.
The Giants are set to finish third after Wigan’s win yesterday but even that represents a remarkable turnaround from where they were a year ago when people were questioning the impact of Watson at the John Smith’s Stadium.
They will likely be a very real threat in the race to the Grand Final after they made it to the Challenge Cup Final earlier this year gaining valuable experience along the way.
In truth, it should be a very interesting race to Old Trafford with the likes of Salford, Leeds and Castleford showing real character in the fight to finish in the top six demonstrating the ability to make a real splash in the play-offs.
Meanwhile, Catalans of course have experience of making it to the Grand Final after last season and are looking to wrap up fourth spot in the league this week with a win against Leeds.