Now the play offs are upon us, Wigan Warriors, Warrington Wolves, Hull KR, Leigh Leopards, Catalans Dragons and St Helens are left to battle it out for the Super League trophy.
This weekend Hull KR host Leigh before Warrington make the journey over to St Helens in do or die games.
If St Helens win they will go to Catalans in the semi-final the week after as the highest placed winner from week one sending the winner of Hull KR vs Leigh Leopards over to Wigan.
But if Warrington win they will go to Wigan and Hull KR or Leigh will go to Catalans.
The teams playing this week have the disadvantage but to me St Helens are still the obvious favourites.
Remarkably the last time third won a play off game was back in was back when Salford Red Devils made it to Old Trafford in 2019.
That was only the fourth time third made it to Old Trafford after 2011, 2005 and 2003.
Only in 2005 did third win the Grand Final in the shape of Bradford Bulls but the Saints are the side to break this trend with their experience and a pack that can beat anyone especially with Alex Walmsley back.
They have a superb defence and momentum which is something Paul Wellens has explained himself in recent weeks:
“I think we’re improving and what I know about the players is they understand that the big games are coming thick and fast.
“What this group have an understanding of is how to approach big games and the level of competitiveness, what’s required to do well in those games as well so we’ll prepare the best we can.
“We always know it’s really tough this time of year, there’s a number of teams wanting to knock us off, we know that, but we embrace that challenge also.
“I mean, I’ve been pleased that we’ve picked up some victories and had a run of consistent form. There’s still four weeks out to the playoffs and a lot can happen in that space.
“It is pleasing, but again I don’t want to get carried away. The fact that we’ve won five means nothing this week. It’s about us preparing the best we can to go and play what’s going to be a difficult game for us at Wakefield on Sunday.
“I’m pleased with the results that we’ve had lately, but certainly not getting carried away. as well.”
The Saints also have a secret weapon in the shape of Moses Mbye:
“Obviously, he’s someone who’s got a wealth of experience and someone who understands what playing in big games is all about. I’ve been delighted with him.
“He’s fitted in straight away to what we’re about as a team. I feel confident that he’ll add a lot to us moving forward.”