St Helens have reached a fourth consecutive Grand Final but unlike the last time they achieved such a feat, the Saints’ recent history has been laden with glory.
They’re chasing an unprecedented fourth consecutive Super League title in tonight’s decider against old Grand Final foes Leeds Rhinos. It would also topple the Rhinos’ own record that they set of three consecutive titles in 2009 against the Saints.
More records would fall St Helens’ way with a win too in what is a record 14th Grand Final appearance. Victory would see them become the first team to win nine Grand Finals and 10 Super League titles. Whilst it would also see departing coach Kristian Woolf become the first coach to win three Grand Finals back-to-back.
But what team will he pick this evening to get the job done? The first conundrum lies at fullback. Last week Jon Bennison did a great job in the role scoring a decisive try but with Will Hopoate standing a good chance of playing according to Woolf we could see him move to fullback unlocking that extra potency in the Saints attack we’ve seen when he has played in 2022.
I don’t think Bennison would be dropped completely however. He would potentially move out onto the left wing, pushing Mark Percival into the centres and Sione Mata’utia back into the pack. The right edge is likely to remain unchanged with former Rhino Konrad Hurrell at centre and Tommy Makinson on the wing.
Jack Welsby will start in the halves with Jonny Lomax with skipper James Roby at hooker in a front row with no Alex Walmsley but still with plenty of size with Agnatius Paasi and Matty Lees set to start as they did against Salford last week.
There could be a conundrum in the backrow with Mata’utia does move into contention. We could see Curtis Sironen on the bench as was the case earlier this year with Joe Batchelor also in the backrow.
Morgan Knowles will complete the 13 after having his two-match ban overturned for twisting Chris Atkin’s arm in the semi-final.
The bench will feature Joey Lussick, Louie McCarthy-Scarsbrook, Curtis Sironen and one of Jake Wingfield, James Bell and the returning Dan Norman.
Predicted Line-up in full
3 Will Hopoate
2 Tommy Makinson
23 Konrad Hurrell
4 Mark Percival
27 Jon Bennison
1 Jack Welsby
6 Jonny Lomax
17 Agnatius Paasi
9 James Roby
10 Matty Lees
11 Sione Mata’utia
12 Joe Batchelor
13 Morgan Knowles
14 Joey Lussick
15 Louie McCarthy-Scarsbrook
16 Curtis Sironen
20 James Bell