After five years without an appearance at the Theatre of Dreams, Saints won their sixth Grand Final at Old Trafford by beating the Salford Red Devils 23-6
Saints started the better, forcing an error in the first set of the game, Salford not getting out of their own half for the first six minutes.
After 15 minutes of pressure, Saints scored from a great cross-field break from Tommy Makinson to get over halfway, Luke Thompson nearly breaking through a few tackles before James Roby picked the ball up, found Alex Walmsley and the number eight passed to Morgan Knowles, who dived over to give Saints the early lead.
But Saints weren’t made to wait much longer for their second score as a high kick to the left corner by Coote forced a knock-on from Ken Sio. On the first tackle, Roby came away with the ball and passed on his inside to Zeb Taia who powered his way over. The video referee took a look, but the try was given.
Salford thought they were back in it 13 minutes before the break but Tui Lolohea’s effort was chalked off for obstruction. They did go over in the 31st minute though as Hastings found Jake Bibby and he threw a dummy to score in the left corner.
Krisnan Inu’s left touchline conversion made it 12-6 and that is how it stayed until the break.
Saints extended their lead in the 50th minute, a great kick and chase by Mark Percival and he scored underneath the sticks.
Luke Thompson was then caught high in the 59th minute in front of the sticks, Coote added the extra two, which made it 20-6.
Alex Walmsley also went close in the 67th minute, but he was halted just short of the line on the last. 10 minutes from time, Coote added another penalty for the redvee as Saints inched towards another Super League title.
Super League’s top try scorer Tommy Makinson then added a one pointer in the last minute from 40 metres out to add the icing on the cake.
A Fitting Farewell
Justin Holbrook ends his two-year reign as head coach on a high as he claims and his first and possibly last Grand Final trophy.
The win at Old Trafford was probably the highlight of his two-year reign as it was an award to commemorate their hard-work and how they’ve set the standard for other teams to follow.
His second year will truly be remembered for the League Leaders Shield and the Grand Final but unfortunately that defeat to Warrington in the Challenge Cup Final denied them the perfect treble.
The Underdog Story Comes To An End
Salford Red Devils were unfortunate not to win their first ever Grand Final but they can still applaud themselves for what they achieved this year.
Ian Watson, his staff, the players and the fans will look back on this game and will be proud of the year they defied the odds.
The Future is Uncertain
The question remains as to what will happen to both Saint Helens and Salford Red Devils in 2020.
Can Saints retain their consistent performances and push for the treble knowing under their new head coach?
Will Salford be able to compete for the play-offs knowing their star player and 2019 Man of Steel Jackson Hastings is moving to Wigan?
See You Next Year
Those questions will be answered next year as all 12 Super League clubs will now break off and prepare for pre-season.
On behalf of the team at Nothing But League we would like to thank you for your checking out our content and will hope to come back bigger and better next year!
Tries: Knowles (16), Taia (24), Percival (50)
Goals: Coote (5)
Drop Goals: Makinson (78)
Tries: Bibby (32)
Goals: Inu (1)
Drop Goals: n/a
Saints: Lachlan Coote, Tommy Makinson, Kevin Naiqama, Mark Percival, Regan Grace, Theo Fages, Jonny Lomax, Alex Walmsley, James Roby, Luke Thompson, Dominique Peyroux, Zeb Taia, Morgan Knowles
Interchanges: Louie MaCarthy-Scarsbrook, Kyle Amor, Jack Ashworth, Aaron Smith
Salford: Niall Evalds, Ken Sio, Kris Welham, Jake Bibby, Krisnan Inu, Tui Lolohea, Jackson Hastings, Lee Mossop, Logan Tomkins, Gil Dudson, Josh Jones, George Griffin, Tyrone McCarthy
Interchanges: Joey Lussick, Mark Flanagan, Adam Walker, Greg Burke