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St Helens are looking for their fourth consecutive Super League title
Friday’s Betfred Super League playoff between Catalans Dragons and Leeds Rhinos will take place as planned. Super League released this statement on Thursday evening:
Super League will pay its respects to Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II throughout the period of national mourning.
As Friday’s first Betfred Super League Elimination Play-Off is being played in Perpignan, it will go ahead as scheduled, as with other sporting events involving British teams abroad – with a minute’s silence before kick-off, and the players of Catalans Dragons and Leeds Rhinos wearing black armbands.
A determination regarding the second Elimination Play-Off between Huddersfield Giants and Salford Red Devils on Saturday will be made following a review of the official mourning guidance, in addition to further consultation with DCMS and other sports on Friday morning.
St Helens to win the Grand Final
3pts 5-4 general
St Helens to win the Grand Final
5pts 9-4 Feb 9
Super League playoffs preview
St Helens were tipped for Betfred Super League glory at the start of the 2022 campaign and there seems little reason to desert the reigning champions who are on the cusp of history.
No side have won the big prize four times on the bounce but Kristian Woolf’s men are just 160 minutes away from adding to their hat-trick of titles.
Saints have the League Leaders’ Shield in the bag for finishing top of the pile in the regular season and they barely had to break sweat over the course of 27 rounds.
Finishing top hasn’t often led to Grand Final glory – only ten of the last 26 table-toppers have gone on to lift the trophy at Old Trafford in the decider.
Saints, though, finished top at a canter and could even afford to ease up in the remaining weeks, but they still finished the campaign with only six marks in the loss column.
The champions also have the luxury of a week off to prepare before taking on the lowest-ranked qualifier at home in the semi-finals on September 17.
Win that and they are on familiar territory in Manchester and with Woolf leaving at the end of the season, Saints remain a decent bet to send him back down under with another Super League winners medal.
A St Helens v Wigan final looks the most likely outcome and the Warriors are sure to have plenty of backers having finished as the highest scorers in the regular season.
Saints boasted the best defense in the competition, though, conceding just under 14 points per game and when it counts they look the only side capable of stopping Wigan’s free-flowing attack.
Huddersfield were the best of the rest outside the top two and have already reached the Betfred Challenge Cup final this season, where they were beaten only by a last-gasp Wigan try.
Huddersfield coach Ian Watson took Salford to an unlikely Grand Final appearance in 2019 and of the remaining six sides the Giants could be the ones to crack the Saints-Wigan cartel at Old Trafford later this month.
However, they must first get past a resurgent Salford which would then lead to a semi-final tussle away to Wigan, while the Catalans would also have to do it the hard way if they are to reach the Grand Final for a second successive season.
The Dragons were edged out by Saints in last season’s decider and have fallen off the pace in 2022.
They remain a threat on home soil but a fourth-place finish was disappointing and means they take on fast-finishing Leeds this Friday which, if victorious, would then set up a trip to St Helens in the semi-finals.
The Rhinos have already won in France this season and could easily spring a surprise this week. But if they do it is hard to see them getting past the champions having lost 68-12 on aggregate in their two meetings with St Helens this season.
It promises to be a thrilling couple of weeks but it’s hard to see beyond a mouthwatering clash between St Helens and Wigan on September 24.
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FIRST PUBLISHED 10:10AM, SEP 9 2022