St Helens crowned Super League champions – talking points & player ratings

St Helens beat Salford 23-6 in the 2019 Super League Grand Final at Old Trafford on Saturday night.

St Helens and Salford named unchanged teams from the ones that beat Wigan in recent weeks.

The Saints got off to a great start, with Morgan Knowles and Zeb Taia scoring within 25 minutes.

Jake Bibby pulled one back for the Red Devils late in the half and they were only 12-6 behind at the break.

Mark Percival scored for St Helens in the second half, while Lachlan Coote notched a couple of penalty goals to put the game out of reach for Salford.

And with two minutes to go, Tommy Makinson added a drop goal to seal a fantastic 23-6 win for St Helens as they were crowned 2019 Super League champions.

Three talking points

St Helens deserved winners

Justin Holbrook’s side have been by far the best team in Super League this season and nobody can complain that they have won the big one.

They won the League Leaders’ Shield by 16 points – an amount that set a new record in Super League.

St Helens have been incredible to watch in 2019 and their pack is as good as any there have been in the Super League era. They are a very, very strong side.

Lolohea first half effort

Salford half-back Tui Lolohea thought he had scored in the 27th minute but it was pulled back by referee Chris Kendall as he deemed there to be an obstruction just before he went over.

The Tonga international will probably feel a little hard done to that his try wasn’t sent upstairs to the video referee because he had a strong case for it to be a try.

Lolohea stepped a couple of players before going over and Kendall ruled there to be an obstruction in the move straight away. You’ve seen them type of efforts given before.

Harry Sunderland Trophy winner

St Helens prop Luke Thompson put in an absolute mammoth display in the front-row. He has been terrific for Saints all year and he was no different at the Theatre of Dreams.

For a prop to play 72 minutes straight is sensational. He was the best forward on the pitch by some distance and throughly deserved the Harry Sunderland Trophy.

The media voted on the winner of the Harry Sunderland Trophy and Love Rugby League deputy editor Drew Darbyshire given his vote to Thompson.

Line-ups and player ratings

St Helens: Coote (7); Makinson (8), Naiqama (8), Percival (8), Grace (7); Lomax (7), Fages (8); Walsmley (8), Roby (8), Thompson (9), Taia (8), Peyroux (7), Knowles (7). Subs: McCarthy-Scarsbrook (7), Amor (7), Ashworth (8), Smith (7).

Tries: Knowles, Taia, Percival Goals: Coote 5/5 Drop Goals: Makinson 1

Salford: Evalds (8); Sio (7), Welham (7), Bibby (7), Inu (7); Lolohea (8), Hastings (8); Mossop (7), Tomkins (7), Dudson (7), Jones (8), Griffin (7), McCarthy (7). Subs: Lussick (8), Flanagan (7), Walker (7), Burke (7).

Tries: Bibby Goals: Inu 1/1

Attendance: 64,102

Drew’s views

What a match. It was a fantastic advertisement for Super League and rugby league general. The first half was brilliant, with St Helens starting so powerful but then the momentum switched in Salford’s favour later in the half.

As for Salford, they will feel hard done to regarding a couple of calls made by the match officials but they can be proud of their defence and their 2019 campaign.

What more can be said about Thompson? He’s probably the best front-rower in the world right now. He would walk into any side and be the best there. His athleticism for a big man is frightening.


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