Saints beat Catalans to win third Grand Final in a row

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Kevin Naiqama of St Helens
Kevin Naiqama brought the curtain down on his St Helens career with two tries
Catalans (4) 10
Tries: McMeeken Goals: Maloney 3
St Helens (6) 12
Tries: Naiqama 2 Goals: Coote 2

St Helens captured a third Super League Grand Final triumph in a row to shatter Catalans Dragons’ hopes in a tense and gripping showpiece at Old Trafford.

A hard-fought showing allowed Saints to claim a record-equalling eighth final win to draw level with Leeds Rhinos.

Kevin Naiqama got the first try for St Helens but two penalties from James Maloney kept Catalans in touch at 6-4.

Mike McMeeken touched down for Catalans but centre Naiqama ended his Saints career on a high with the winning try.

Around 1,000 Catalans had travelled over from France to see their team in a maiden Grand Final, but they left heartbroken as St Helens’ big-game experience told in front of a largely red and white following.

The Rhinos – in 2007, 2008 and 2009 – are the only other side to win the domestic competition three times on the trot.

Saints learn their lesson

Saints were pipped to the League Leaders’ Shield by Saturday’s opponents but collected the season’s big prize by just two points in a breathless encounter.

It was tough and brutal throughout and fittingly centre Naiqama and full-back Lachlan Coote were the only points scorers with both players appearing in their final game.

Naiqama is returning to Australia and his tries were superbly taken efforts, the first with a majestic step to burrow over and the match-winning effort in the second half by collecting Jonny Lomax’s kick and sliding home.

That try came in front of the Catalans’ fans, who were left deflated having waved their yellow and red flags during the contest.

Coote, who is joining beaten semi-finalist Hull KR next season, added two crucial conversions with the latter edging his side ahead.

Saints had 12 minutes to hold out and displayed their wealth of experience in their 13th Grand Final, seeing the game out without giving the Dragons a sniff.

They had learnt their lesson from last month when they conceded three tries and a golden-point dropgoal in the final four minutes when they were beaten by the very same opposition.

Catalans fall agonisingly short

Perpignan-based Catalans joined Super League 15 years ago and were aiming to make history by becoming the first overseas team to lift the trophy and shift the power away from the M62 corridor.

Having won the Challenge Cup in 2018 and coming top at the end of the regular season, the Grand Final prize proved elusive in a cruel end to the season.

They battled hard in the arm-wrestle but found it difficult to make inroads into a resolute Saints backline, with McMeeken’s solitary try in the second half short-lived.

The result means the long wait for a new name on the trophy goes on, with victors St Helens, Leeds, Wigan and Bradford remaining as the only ones etched on the prize.

Catalans Dragon v St Helens
St Helens won the Grand Final for a record-equalling eighth time