5 Oct 2021

Grand Final: Dragons v Saints head-to-head

Catalans Dragons face St Helens on Saturday 9 October at the Theatre of Dreams in the 2021 Betfred Super League Grand Final!

Catalans Dragons versus St Helens. One versus two. History versus the three-peat. 

The two standout sides in Betfred Super League this season, this fixture will be special. The Dragons - in their maiden appearance at Old Trafford - are chasing their first Grand Final win. For Saints, it's a chance to extend their dynasty. 

Here's our rundown of the battle between the top two ahead of October 9. 

Grand Final Tickets

Meetings this season

Round 7 | Catalans Dragons 20 – 16 St Helens

Champions St Helens went into their round 7 clash away at Catalans unbeaten in 2021. They had conceded an average of less than 6 points in their opening 6 games and nilled two of those opponents.

This game was a significant milestone in Catalans season – after their previous home match to Warrington which ended in defeat, there were doubts of whether the Dragons could compete with the big guns. They certainly silenced those doubts. The Dragons led the game 20-6 until the final 10 minutes, with Saints crossing for two tries in five minutes to set up a thrilling end to the contest.

Thankfully for Catalans, they held on - securing a vital win at home against the Champions.

 Round 18 | St Helens 34 – 12 Catalans Dragons

A contrast to the Round 7 meeting, Saints completely dominated the Dragons in Round 18 – albeit against a depleted Catalans outfit. Nevertheless, Saints could only play what was in front of them, and never looked like losing. They dominated the Dragons in this top of the table clash, reminding everyone why they are back-to-back champions.

The game also proved significant for young half-back Lewis Dodd. He ran the show against the Dragons and gave us a glimpse of his exciting potential on a wet Saturday afternoon - rewarded with the Man of the Match award after scoring a try, setting up another and kicking a 40/20.

 Round 23 (Dacia Magic Weekend) | St Helens 30 – 31 Catalans Dragons

An utterly mesmerising and unforgettable clash in Newcastle. If you haven’t seen this game – why not?! It was another top of the table clash with implications for both sides, and it looked to be going the way of the Saints. Kristian Woolf’s side led 30-12 with just five minutes remaining. Step up, Catalans Dragons. Converted tries from Dean Whare and Gil Dudson gave the Dragons a glimmer a hope, before a try from Sam Kasiano on the final hooter - again converted by James Maloney - sent the game into golden point.

And we all know what happened from there… the Dragons secured their first ever League Leaders’ Shield and the Saints were defeated in agonising fashion. What better way to set up this year’s Grand Final than having this game etched in our memories? Here’s hoping for more drama on Saturday.

Key battles

Sam Tomkins v Lachlan Coote

Two classy operators. Despite having different styles, the pair are inherently similar - mature, level-headed competitors that make their side tick. Tomkins has been the standout full-back in 2021, there’s no question about it - his Steve Prescott MBE Man of Steel award last night is proof. But Coote hasn’t been too far behind. 

A Man of Steel finalist in 2020, Coote turns up when it matters. He produced a Man of the Match display against the Rhinos last week and has been impressive during St Helens' three meetings against the Dragons this season. He finished with a try and a try assist in their last two meetings, as well as two assists in the Round 8 clash. Chances are he’ll have a similar impact at the Theatre of Dreams.

Tomkins missed Catalans' semi-final win against Hull KR last week, but that shouldn't stop him from playing on Saturday. And the Dragons will need him. Tomkins has at times been unplayable this year - Coote himself recognising the imminent threat that Tomkins poses. 

Discussing the newly crowned Man of Steel, Coote admitted: “He’s just a great footballer. He’s instinctive, he plays off-the-cuff and is a great runner of the ball. He’s a big threat for Catalans – if we can keep him at bay we’ll go a long way to getting the win.”

The battle between these two impressive full backs will be fascinating. 

James Maloney v Jonny Lomax

A battle between the Dream Team halves. Two experienced competitors, both will be equally as important to their side on October 9. Lomax began 2021 in fine form - he received top Man of Steel points in five of Saints' opening eight games. No small feat given the standout performances of his teammates this season. And his accolades are fully deserved - he is persistent in his pursuit of excellence and epitomises St Helens winning culture.

And on the subject of winning, James Maloney knows a thing or two about winning big games. The two time NRL Grand Final winner is made for the big stage. He will revel in the Old Trafford cauldron and be expected to steer Catalans around the pitch. Maloney delivers match-winning plays - as we've seen on several occasions this year - and could be called upon again this Saturday. 

The pair don't just possess rugby smarts and attacking flair - they are both tough. Neither are immune from hard work and it shows. Away from the big moments, they will contribute to the one percenters - a reflection of their attitude and will to win. Saturday will present another intriguing battle between two of the league's best number 6's. 

Sam Kasiano v Alex Walmsley

Alex Walmsley is the best prop in Super League. Few can argue against that statement. He enhanced his reputation even further after another colossal performance against the Rhinos last week. The front rower has failed to run for over 100 metres just twice all year and in his last 3 games has run for an average of 202 metres - he seems to be peaking just at the right time.

He's up against fellow Dream Team prop Sam Kasiano on Saturday Night. Although Kasiano’s role differs from Walmsley's, he is equally as devastating. Kasiano has been a superb in 2021 and his impact from the bench has been tenfold. His large frame, bustling ball carrying and slick ball play has been ultra impressive for the Dragons. He offers a point of difference going forward and is an unsettling figure in the Dragons side. These two may not face off for too long on Saturday, but when they do – there will be fireworks. 

Tickets for the Betfred Super League Grand Final are priced from £30 and are available to purchase here.