The defining date in the European rugby league calendar, this year’s Super League Grand Final will mark the end of the 28th edition of the competition, pitting the last two remaining teams against each other after the end-of-season playoffs.
Since the first hooter sounded in February, 12 teams have been battling to earn one of six spots for the knockout phase, which will begin once the 27 rounds of the regular season have been completed.
Last year’s Grand Final saw St Helens – who finished the regular term as league leaders – beat 5th-placed Leeds Rhinos 24-12, earning a tenth title in the competition.
The Grand Final takes place on Saturday 14th October. An evening kick-off is scheduled, with the match due to get underway at 18:00.
As in previous years, the Grand Final will be hosted at its traditional home of Old Trafford, in Manchester. In all years but one since its 1998 inauguration, the final Super League match of the year has taken place at the cavernous 74,000-seater venue.
Coverage of the event can usually be found on Sky Sports, who are the main rights holders for the competition. Additional coverage is expected to be available on Channel 4, who began sharing rights in 2022, while highlights are available on the BBC.
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Just as St Helens are the most successful team in Super League overall, winning top honours ten times, they are also the most decorated side in Grand Finals – nine of their titles have come via an end-of-season match, which was introduced to the league format in 1998.
Saints have won each of the last four Grand Finals, with their other triumphs coming in 1999, 2000, 2002, 2006 and 2014.
The next best side in Grand Finals are Leeds Rhinos. Eight-time winners, 2022 saw them reach their first final in five years.
In total, four teams have won a Super League Grand Final. In addition to St Helens and Leeds, Wigan Warriors and Bradford Bulls have claimed victory on five and three occasions respectively.
The Warriors have appeared in 11 finals overall, tying with Leeds behind Saints’ record of 14. Bradford follow on with six appearances in total.
Additionally, four clubs have reached Grand Finals without ever winning the trophy – with four runners-up medals, Warrington Wolves are the most high-profile example.
Castleford Tigers, Salford Red Devils and Catalans Dragons have reached one final apiece.
In 2022, St Helens took an early lead in their quest to gain a ninth Grand Final win, with Matty Lees crossing the try line inside three minutes to open the scoring.
Leeds’ first score, a Kruise Leeming try right on the interval, meant Saints led at the break, 12-6.
By the hour, St Helens were 18 points ahead after Tommy Makinson converted tries from Konrad Hurrell and Mark Percival, with Rhyse Martin’s late crossing not enough to reset the balance.
Saints’ 24-12 victory meant they had won all of the last four Grand Finals against different opponents.
Dominant over the last four seasons, St Helens are hotly tipped to rule the roost again, leading the betting at 7/4 to be crowned this year’s winners.
Warrington endured a season to forget in 2022, finishing second-bottom of the regular season table and a whole ten points off the play-offs. However, a much-improved performance is expected to be in the offing this term, with the Wire at 5/2 to secure a first Super League crown.
A strong season is also anticipated for Wigan Warriors, who were the last side other than Saints to become champions, back in 2018. Odds of 11/4 say the ribbons on this year’s trophy will be cherry and white.
Catalans ran Saints close in 2021 and they once again seek to become the first non-UK-based team to lift the trophy; the French side were Challenge Cup winners in 2018. At 11/1, they are fourth in line to the throne, followed by Huddersfield – last year’s Challenge Cup runners-up and would-be Grand Final debutants – at 12/1.
At 250/1 and a massive 1000/1 respectively, Castleford and Wakefield are the rank outsiders.
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