After easily passing Leeds Rhinos, St Helens secured a Super League Grand Final date with Catalans Dragons.
The incumbent champions had an early lead, which James Roby increased before Richie Myler put Leeds on the board just before halftime. The Saints’ lead was extended to 24-4 after tries from Mark Percival and Kevin Naiqama. Leeds had a chance thanks to Luke Briscoe, but Percival and Grace both crossed again to ensure Saints’ place in their third consecutive Grand Final on October 9th.
St Helens will meet the League Leaders’ Shield winners a week on Saturday at Old Trafford, where they defeated Wigan in last season’s climax. Winners of the Challenge Cup Saints’ unrelenting pursuit of silverware showed no signs of slowing down in this match, as Kristian Woolf’s side displayed their superior steel to keep their ‘three-peat’ ambitions alive.
Saints hammered Leeds with a blistering first quarter in both halves to put the game beyond doubt in a frenetic environment laden with emotion as numerous players said their farewell on home soil.
Alex Walmsley created havoc with his powerful carries, as he had done in their regular season match just a few weeks prior, and Jonny Lomax, Lewis Dodd, and Lachlan Coote, who booted six goals, opened the visitors up.
Grace and Percival both scored twice after swift left-wing passes, while Roby’s sniping attempt and Naiqama’s farewell goal in his final home game before returning to Australia for family reasons at the conclusion of the season were also highly applauded.
Leeds fought back to stay in the game after Saints appeared to have won it, and they were rewarded with goals from Myler’s clever cut back inside and Briscoe’s stunning corner finish under pressure from Dodd.
The only negative note was the high number of yellow cards, with four players receiving 10-minute suspensions. Morgan Knowles, in particular, will be waiting to see if he will be available for next week’s final after his late shot on Kruise Leeming.
Richard Agar and the Rhinos bid their goodbyes, with Rob Lui and Konrad Hurrell departing after this game, but it was the Saints’ night following a strong performance.