Catalans reach Grand Final, Tomkins comes up clutch, Roby bows out a legend – Five takeaways as Dragons progress to Old Trafford

Drew Darbyshire
Sam Tomkins Catalans Dragons Alamy

Sam Tomkins in action for Catalans Dragons - Alamy

Catalans Dragons reached the Super League Grand Final after beating reigning champions St Helens 12-6 thanks to a stunning clutch play from Sam Tomkins.

Here are our five takeaways from Friday’s televised fixture from the Stade Gilbert Brutus…

Catalans Dragons reach Grand Final

The French side have made the Super League Grand Final for just the second time in their short history as a club.

Steve McNamara has done a wonderful job since taking over the coaching reins at the Dragons, winning their first piece of major silverware in the Challenge Cup in 2018.

They then reached their maiden Grand Final in 2021 but couldn’t get the job done against St Helens at Old Trafford – but they’ll have another bite at the apple next Sunday.

The Dragons will face the winner of Saturday’s other semi-final between Wigan and Hull KR.

Tomkins comes up clutch

It took an incredible clutch play from the retiring Sam Tomkins to send Les Dracs to the Theatre of Dreams.

Tomkins announced earlier in the year that he will be retiring at the end of the season – and what a fitting way it will be for him to hang up his boots after playing in the Grand Final at Old Trafford.

The former England international had a standout game against Saints, and came up with the match-winning moment as he scored late on to send his side to the big dance.

Roby bows out a legend

James Roby. An absolute legend. One of the greatest players ever – not just in British rugby league – but in the rugby league world.

The all-time appearance holder for his hometown club St Helens with 551 to his name.

We ran out of superlatives to describe James Roby years ago. What more can be said? One of the best to do it.

It’s obviously heartbreaking for his last game to be in a semi-final – but he can certainly be proud of all his achievements during his career.

McCarthy-Scarsbrook bids farewell to rugby league

Whilst much of the attention has been on the retiring Roby and Tomkins, Louie McCarthy-Scarsbrook will also bring down the curtain on an illustrious playing career and will enter the fire service.

The former England and Ireland international moved ahead of Rob Burrow and Ben Westwood in joint seventh place in the list of Super League’s all-time appearance holders on Friday night, with 430 to his name.

McCarthy-Scarsbrook has spent the previous 13 seasons with Saints after arriving in 2011 following five seasons with Harlequins.

Like Roby and Tomkins, he can be incredibly proud of everything he’s achieved over his career.

St Helens dominance comes to an end

It won’t be five Super League titles in a row for St Helens following their defeat in Perpignan – but what a joy to watch they’ve been over the past five years.

This Saints side will go down as one of the best in the Super League era, with the cherry put on top of the cake earlier this year when they beat Penrith Panthers in their own back yard to take the World Club Challenge back to St Helens.

They might not be going to Old Trafford this year – but you feel it won’t take them long to bounce back.

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