St Helens were crowned 2019 Super League Champions with their Grand Final win over Salford Red Devils. Here’s what we thought about their campaign.
Super League Record
Competition Points: 52
Challenge Cup: Runner-Up
St Helens Player of the Year: Jonny Lomax
What was good about their season?
It ended up being a near perfect season for St Helens. They won the league by a record 16 points losing only four games, ended the season by giving Justin Holbrook a fair well Super League title and ultimately got rid of their ‘chokers’ tag. Not only did they win the league but they also did it in style. Holbrook got them playing a free-flowing and expansive style which the ‘entertainers’ were known for playing in the early naughties. Not only this but the Australian brought back a culture which has been missing under Cunningham and got a town falling back in love with their rugby club once more.
A number of younger players such as Matty Lees, Jack Ashworth, Aaron Smith, Jack Welsby and James Bentley got a number of minutes as St Helens look towards a future without Holbrook in 2020.
What was not so good about their season?
There is only one chink in St Helens’ armour for the 2019 season and that was the Challenge Cup Final performance against Warrington.
Saints failed to turn up that day as they went behind early in the game. They tried possibly too hard to score at every opportunity that day and didn’t play the right tactics for finals football and were ultimately beaten by a better Warrington team who had a game plan based on a good kicking game and outstanding defence.
Who was their best player in 2019?
Literally every single player in the Saints side had a part to play in their record breaking season. Luke Thompson put forward his claim for being the best prop forward in the world with two exceptional performances against Wigan and then in the Grand Final against Salford, Lachlan Coote oozed class in the full back position and Tommy Makinson ended the season as top try-scorer. However Jonny Lomax just edges out those three as St Helens’ best player. He swept up at the club’s end of season awards winning Saints Player of the Year, Players’ Player of the Year and Members player of the year.
Lomax can count himself unlucky not have won Man of Steel or in the Dream Team as many would agree, especially St Helens fans, with eventual winner Jackson Hastings who believes Lomax is the best player in the league. He ended the season with an impressive 16 tries and 21 assists as his running game and his link up play with Theo Fages and Lachlan Coote instilled fear into opposition teams.