St Helens and Leeds are set to collide on Saturday in a mouth watering Grand Final with both chasing a record ninth Grand Final win.
For the Saints, four is the magic number as they go in search of a record setting fourth consecutive title which would topple the record set by Leeds in 2009.
As for Leeds, the magic number is three as they go for a third Super League title after finishing fifth in the table.
Two great stories set to unfurl in Manchester on Saturday, this story has so far been defined by the characters who won’t take centre stage.
St Helens will be without the injured Regan Grace, Lewis Dodd and Alex Walmsley whilst Leeds will be missing David Fusitu’a, Harry Newman, Ash Handley, Aidan Sezer and Morgan Gannon through injuries.
However, that wasn’t the end of the story with the Match Review Panel having their say on who will star at Old Trafford last night.
Jack Welsby was charged with a Grade A high tackle but his good record saved him from a ban but Morgan Knowles wasn’t so lucky picking up a two-match ban for a chicken wing tackle on Chris Atkin however the Champions are set to appeal the decision tonight.
In terms of players set to play in the Grand Final, it was these two who were the focus of many going into the verdict, however another man hoping to play at Old Trafford this weekend was also cited for an incident that occurred in the semi-finals.
The man in question is James Bentley who has missed eight games through bans in 2022 since swapping St Helens for home town team Leeds.
It was a difficult start to life at Leeds for Bentley but since Smith has come in he has been terrific. A tackling machine, he now seems to be on the right side of the line in terms of tenacity and discipline.
He also scored twice in the Rhinos’ semi-final win at Wigan. However, long before that, Bentley was found guilty of tackling Liam Marshall high in an incident that was picked up by the Match Review Panel.
However, the panel decided that no charge was required as “player makes initial contact with the shoulder and rides up into the head.”
This saw him avoid a ban at the most important time of the season meaning he is set to play a starring role at Old Trafford this weekend against his former club.