ESL ESL News and Views - Such An Underrated Competition (Moto)

S J

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St Helens (26) 40
Tries: Fages, Naiqama, Thompson, Lomax, Taia, Percival 2 Goals: Coote 6
Wigan Warriors (6) 10
Tries: Marshall, French Goals: Hardaker

St Helens reached their first Super League Grand Final since 2014 by thrashing reigning champions Wigan.

Saints were irresistible in the first half and led 26-6 with tries from Theo Fages, Kevin Naiqama, Luke Thompson and Jonny Lomax.

Zeb Taia's score and a Mark Percival double extended the lead to send Saints to Old Trafford on 12 October.

Wigan will get another chance to reach the Grand Final when they host Salford in the preliminary final on 4 October.
 

moto748

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A bleak evening all round. I said earlier that any result would do, bar a tanking. But a tanking is pretty much what we got. Saints made the metres where we couldn't, and didn't drop the ball like they did in the CC Final. Now we have to pick ourselves up to face a confident Salford side.
 

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The trophy for the Million Pound Game has been lifted, and around the the Lamport Stadium howls of joy ring out. And these are proper wolf-style howls (it's a thing!) While this is the year of the Wolfpack, they were made to work hard to win promotion to Super League by a resilient Featherstone side today.
 

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Toronto Wolfpack (4) 24
Tries: McCrone, Wallace, Thompson, Mellor Goals: O'Brien 2, Wallace 2
Featherstone Rovers (6) 6
Try: Sutcliffe Goal: Chisholm

Toronto Wolfpack won the Million Pound Game against Featherstone Rovers to reach Super League for the first time.

Just three years after joining the lower leagues, Wolfpack will become the 23rd club to play in the top flight.

But they had to come from behind against a determined Featherstone who led 6-4 at the half-time.

Tries from Josh McCrone, Blake Wallace, Bodene Thompson and Joe Mellor after Alex Sutcliffe crossed for Rovers set them up for a 24-6 victory.
 
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S J

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It is the most dominant side that Super League has ever seen against the most incredible story that Super League has ever seen. And that is why there has been a frisson like never before in the build-up to the 2019 Grand Final. St Helens finished top of the regular season table by a record-breaking 16-point margin, playing electrifying rugby all year.

Salford, pre-season relegation contenders for many, have produced a magical campaign of their own with an eye-catching style built on gutsy togetherness. Each club can make a compelling case for attracting the neutral's support this year, because whoever lifts the trophy on Saturday will have recorded an extraordinary tale. But you suspect the majority of the non-committed fans in Old Trafford will be learning the words to "Salford Reds Arisin" before taking their seats. Don't we love an underdog ?

"We are bit of a motley crew of misfits," said Salford's Mark Flanagan, who won the Super League title with Saints in 2014.

"I say that with all respect to my team-mates, and I put myself in that category," he added.

"We're a team of players that have probably been discarded from other clubs for a variety of reasons - form, face not fitting, injuries, disciplinary reasons. But we've now had an arm put round us and (we've been) shown a purpose by the coaches."
 

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Venue: Old Trafford Date: Saturday, 12 October Kick-off: 18:00 BST Coverage: BBC Radio 5 Live and local radio coverage and live text commentary on the BBC Sport website

St Helens and Salford keep faith with the 19-man squads that carried them to the Super League Grand Final.

St Helens (from): Lomax, Makinson, Naiqama, Percival, Grace, Fages, Walmsley, Roby, Thompson, Taia, Paulo, McCarthy-Scarsbrook, Knowles, Amor, Peyroux, Ashworth, Smith, Bentley, Coote.

Salford Red Devils (from): Evalds, Welham, Bibby, Mossop, Wood, Dudson, Jones, Griffin, Flanagan, Lussick, Walker, Burke, McCarthy, Tomkins, Sio, Inu, Lolohea, Hastings, Johnson.
 

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Leeds Rhinos Women (4) 20
Tries: Goldthorp 2, Eatock, Frain Goals: Hill 2
Castleford Tigers Women (8) 12
Tries: Lumb, Owen, Gentles

Leeds Rhinos Women completed a Super League and Challenge Cup double as they came from behind to beat Castleford Tigers in the Grand Final.

Tigers led 8-4 at half-time with Maisie Lumb and Lacey Owen's early tries as Abby Eatock crossed for Rhinos.

A Fran Goldthorp double put Leeds ahead for the first time before Ellie Frain seemingly put the game to bed.

But Kelsey Gentles snuck in for Castleford's third to reduce the deficit before Leeds hung on.

It was another final heartbreak for Cas, who also lost 16-10 to Leeds in July's Challenge Cup Final and only lost twice in the regular season as they claimed the League Leaders' Shield.

For Leeds, victory came after they were beaten in last season's Grand Final by Wigan.
 

S J

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The man who guided St Helens to a record-breaking winning margin in Super League is at ease with being overshadowed by a self-titled "motley crew" in his farewell game.

Justin Holbrook will leave his role as Saints head coach after Saturday's Grand Final against Salford, to take the top job with Gold Coast Titans in the National Rugby League in his native Australia.

A triumphant farewell is what he wants. The fanfare, he is happy to side-step.

And so he gladly deflects attention onto Salford; a side that started as 150-1 outsiders to reach the Grand Final at the start of the season who have gone on to gatecrash Old Trafford.

"We have no issue with it all being about Salford, they deserve it," Holbrook told BBC Radio 5 Live.

"I'm OK with it and understand why. For them to reach their first Grand Final and the way they have gone about it is great for the game, absolutely great.

"They deserve the credit, they deserve to be there - they earned it and it is up to us to be better than them."
 

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Venue: Old Trafford Date: Saturday, 12 October Kick-off: 18:00 BST
Coverage: Live commentary on BBC Radio 5 Live, BBC Radio Merseyside and BBC Radio Manchester, live text commentary on BBC Sport website, highlights at 17:00 BST on BBC Two on Sunday
 

S J

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Venue: Old Trafford Date: Saturday, 12 October Kick-off: 18:00 BST
Coverage: Live commentary on BBC Radio 5 Live, BBC Radio Merseyside and BBC Radio Manchester, live text commentary on BBC Sport website, highlights at 17:00 BST on BBC Two on Sunday
Anyone staying up ?
 

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St Helens: (12) 23
Tries: Knowles, Taia, Percival Goals: Coote 5 Drop-goal: Makinson
Salford Red Devils (6) 6
Try: Bibby Goal: Inu

St Helens claimed their seventh Super League title and first since 2014 by comfortably beating Salford Red Devils in the Grand Final at Old Trafford.

Morgan Knowles and Zeb Taia scored as Saints began at a terrific tempo.

Salford, playing in their first Grand Final, were given hope when Jake Bibby slid over in the corner.

But Mark Percival scored a sensational try under the posts from his own grubber kick, and Tommy Makinson landed a 40m drop-goal to seal victory.

Makinson's stunning effort, on the verge of the full-time hooter, followed two Lachlan Coote penalties which put the game beyond Salford's reach and ensured that Justin Holbrook ended his time as Saints coach with a major trophy.

St Helens: Lomax, Makinson, Naiqama, Percival, Grace, Fages, Walmsley, Roby, Thompson, Taia, Knowles, Peyroux, Coote.
Interchanges: McCarthy-Scarsbrook, Amor, Ashworth, Smith.

Salford Red Devils: Evalds, Welham, Bibby, Mossop, Dudson, Jones, Griffin, McCarthy, Tomkins, Sio, Inu, Lolohea, Hastings.
Interchanges: Lussick, Flanagan, Walker, Burke.

Referee: C. Kendall.