Will the Saints conquer Super League for a third successive season?

If you’re not already familiar with the Super League, you’re missing out. It’s the top-level league in English rugby league and features 11 English teams, plus one from France. The Super League usually gets going in February and runs through to September. Teams battle it out in 11 home matches, 11 away matches, plus six additional fixtures, to decide who will face each other in the play-offs and, following this, in the Grand Final.

The mighty St Helens

St Helens have been prolific in the league, having won two seasons back-to-back (2019 and 2020) and generally keeping the professionals in charge of looking after the trophy room extremely busy.

The team have been crowned Super League champions an additional four times in the 21st century and have also laid their hands on the Challenge Cup five times this century, the World Club Challenge trophy twice following the end of the 1990s and, for good measure, in 2006, the BBC Team Sports Personality of the Year.

Chasing a third league championship

The success of the team has stoked the fires of ambition even more and the club are looking to snap up their third successive Super League championship win, now that the new season is back in full swing. One of the reasons for the club’s amazing progress at the highest level is the fact that they don’t sit around resting on their laurels; they’re striving constantly for improvement. That’s part of the plan to claim that third successive title, according to their coach, Kristian Woolf.

Can they add a third consecutive title to their credentials?

St Helens know seriously how to impose their authority on any competition. Already early in the league and, despite tying with teams at the top of the table, a slight gap has started to open up in points scored.

They’ll have some tough competition to beat courtesy of usual suspects Wigan, Warrington and Leeds, but young forwards James Bentley and Morgan Knowles know how to drive the team up the park while the classy Lachlan Coote and Jonny Lomax lead the team with ease around the field. The team has healed itself, too, by playing Alex Walmsley working alongside James Graham to make sure the void Luke Thompson’s mid-season departure last season left soon filled up.

Those are just the players who were already part of the squad. St Helens, like other teams, were busy on the transfer market and brought in some exciting talent off season. The team now enjoy the leadership and experience of Joel Thompson in the back row while front row player and Tongan international Agnatius Paasi and the electrifying former Knights forward Sione Mata’utia are additions that will make opponents gulp, too.

So, the question some people are asking is who, if anyone, can even stop the Saints marching to that third title. St Helens may have enjoyed all the glory last season, but some are tipping Wigan to have the most important laugh this time round. They narrowly missed out on the title in 2020 and will be keen to readdress that balance.

Key fixtures

Of course, Wigan’s defeat at the hands of the Saints in the Grand Final means their league clash with St Helens will, as always, be a riveting affair. The fact that Wigan emerged victorious from their October 2020 Super League clash, walking away with a 12-point win over the Saints, adds further intrigue.

In the Challenge Cup, St Helens have already started showing some of the main contenders for their league title who’s boss with their elimination of title hopefuls Leeds, which put the Saints through to the quarter finals of the competition. The Rhinos went down to 12 men, following the dismissal of back rower Zane Tetevano for a late tackle on Theo Fages. St Helens then took ruthless advantage of the situation with a goal from Tommy Makkinson and a try from Regan Grace.

What are the odds of St Helens winning the Super League?

Anyone wishing to wager online on the Super League must surely be thinking already that their money is looking good on the Saints, who have received odds of 15/8. Meanwhile, Wigan are looking at odds of 9/4 and Leeds are the recipients of 12/1.

Despite Warrington and Leeds also being tipped to topple the Saints this season, it has been Castleford, Hull FC and the Catalans Dragons that have gotten off to the stronger start. No surprises, of course, that Wigan are already trying to put the league leaders under pressure, although Hull are having a more successful time in this endeavour just now.

The start to the season means you may fancy betting on one of these teams instead of the usual big hitters. Catalans Dragons have odds of 12/1, whereas Hull FC enjoy odds of 9/1 and Castleford are on the receiving end of 10/1 odds from the bookies.

Of course, it’s only April and the season is a long way from being over. St Helens may have already begun to impose themselves and be looking to consolidate their dominance, but it’s clear the other teams aren’t going to stand for any of that. It will be interesting to see how events play out and who will face off in the Grand Final on 9 October 2021.

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