St Helens 19-12 Salford: Saints to meet Leeds in Grand Final

St Helens Joe Batchelor

St Helens will be looking to become the very first ever Super League side to win four Grand Finals in a row after they booked their place at Old Trafford with a 19-12 victory over Salford.

It means boss Kristian Woolf will enjoy his final game in charge of the club at the theatre of dreams next Saturday against Leeds Rhinos.

In a game that went down to the wire, a try from Jon Bennison in the 70th minute secured the victory, while Joe Batchelor crossed for a first-half brace.

Match report

St Helens welcomed back both Sione Mata’utia and Mark Percival, with the pair lining up as centre and winger respectively. Agnatius Paasi started at prop, replacing the injured Alex Walmsley.

Salford were of course without star man Brodie Croft, with Chris Atkin replacing him in the halves alongside Marc Sneyd. Amir Bourouh was called up to the bench. 

Having seen his first attempt ruled no try after grounding the ball on the dead-ball line, Batchelor eventually opened the scoring on the 12th minute with his second attempt. The England World Cup hopeful grounding a kick from half-back Lomax just next to the posts. 

Meanwhile, Salford hooker Andy Ackers failed his head injury assessment and was ruled out of the rest of the game. 

Back-rower Batchelor made it a brace on 17 minutes, this time thanks to a short-ball from Lomax close to the try-line. 

St Helens could be without loose forward Morgan Knowles for their Grand Final appearance. The 25-year-old sent to the sin-bin for a chicken wing tackle. 

Salford instantly made their opposition pay with their first try of the afternoon. Another World Cup hopeful, Kallum Watkins crashed through to score thanks to a pass from Atkin. 

Lomax made it a seven-point game before the break with a drop-goal on the hooter.

HT: St Helens 13-6 Salford

Ryan Brierley scored the first points of the second 40 on the 60th minute. Salford shifting the ball wide and breaking through Joe Burgess, who fed the ball back on the inside for the full-back to race away under the sticks to give the away supporters some hope.

However, the game was sealed ultimately on the 70th minute by St Helens. Lomax, who assisted Saints’ first two tries, was also the provider of the third and the most important. The England international putting through a neat kick for Bennison to groundthe ball and score.

Tommy Makinson was sent to the sin-bin and was forced to watch the remaining six minutes due to a professional foul. However, his side held strong on their own line with late pressure to secure the victory and a spot in the final.

FT: St Helens 19-12 Salford

St Helens: Bennison, Makinson, Hurrell, Mata’utia, Percival, Welsby, Lomax, Paasi, Roby, Lees, Batchelor, Sironen, Knowles. Bench: Lussick, McCarthy-Scarsbrook, Wingfield, Bell.

Tries: Batchelor (2), Bennison.

Goals: Makinson 3/3

Sin-bin: Knowles, Makinson.

Drop-goal: Lomax

Salford: Brierley, Sio, Cross, Lafai, Burgess, Atkin, Sneyd, Ormondroyd, Ackers, Vuniyayawa, Wright, Watkins, Taylor. Bench: Bourouh, Dupree, Gerrard, Luckley.

Tries: Watkins, Brierley.

Goals: Sneyd 2/2

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About Josh McAllister 1909 Articles
Journalist. Joined the Love Rugby League team full time at the start of 2022 having been a freelance reporter for several years. Previously media manager for Swinton and Rochdale.

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