30 Aug 2019

Saints to break the curse?

Can St Helens break the three-year League Leaders’ Shield curse?

Tonight, St Helens will be presented with the League Leaders’ Shield for a consecutive year, last year, they failed to reach the Super League Grand Final after losing to Warrington Wolves in the semi-final. 

In fact, the last team to win both the Shield and Grand Final was Leeds Rhinos’ treble winning team in 2015. 

Super League used the tagline “every minute matters” in 2015, Leeds secured the Shield that year by living up to that tagline, in one of the most iconic Super League moments since its inception. 

The image of Rhinos winger, Ryan Hall, charging down the wing with Giants’ Jermaine McGillvary in the background during the dying seconds of the game, will be written into Super League folklore. 

In 2016, Warrington won the Shield but failed to complete the double after losing to Wigan Warriors in the Grand Final, a year later, Castleford Tigers won the shield but fell to Leeds in the final. 

Four teams have won both the Shield and Grand Final; Wigan, Bradford, St Helens and Leeds. 

Saints and Leeds have both won the double three times, while, Bradford and Wigan have completed the double twice.

The first ever Super League Grand Final kicked off in 1998, that year, Wigan won the Shield and Grand Final, the first team to do so, it took them 12 years to repeat that feat. 

Since 1998, the double has only been achieved ten times, this year, Saints will have a burning desire to win the Grand Final, their first since 2014, after the disappointment of their Challenge Cup loss at the weekend. 

Justin Holbrook’s men have all the assets to win the double, flying wingers in Tommy Makinson and Regan Grace, a forward pack led by Alex Walmsley, Morgan Knowles, and Luke Thompson, they also, arguably have the best hooker and full back in the league in James Roby and Lachlan Coote, not forgetting Jonny Lomax in the halves. 

It’s also Holbrook’s last chance at winning the coveted Grand Final before he returns to the NRL to coach Gold Coast Titans and former Leeds treble winner, Kallum Watkins. 

Can Saints break the three-year League Leaders’ Shield curse?