St Helens reach Super League Grand Final after 36-8 victory over Leeds Rhinos

Alex Walmsley and James Roby led from the front to put St Helens within 80 minutes of a Super League three-peat.

Prop Walmsley and hooker Roby helped Saints set a blistering pace that Leeds struggled to contain, booking an Old Trafford showdown with Catalans next Saturday.

It gives Kristian Woolf’s side the chance to win a third straight Grand Final and complete a 2021 double after lifting the Challenge Cup in July.

On this evidence they will take some stopping.

Right from the start they played the game at a pace too quick for the visitors, led by the imperious Walmsley.

That platform allowed veteran skipper Roby to launch Saints’ dangerous backline – which had doubles from Mark Percival and Regan Grace.

Woolf said: “You could see our intensity from the start but we weren’t perfect – there’s a bit of improvement in us.

“The good thing is we’ve got a little bit more to go for next week.

“They’ve done something special and we’ve got more special things to come.”

To Leeds’ credit they hung into the contest for long periods despite being on the back foot, without ever looking like winning.

“We were beaten by a better team tonight,” coach Richard Agar admitted.

“They put us under relentless pressure with their speed and power.

“I thought we showed a lot of fight after a torrid start – our start was nowhere near where it needed to be.”

In a game that ended with four yellow cards in total, Grace opened the scoring, taking a smart cut-out pass from Lachlan Coote to cross out wide.

The Rhinos were first to be reduced to 12 men when Tom Briscoe was sin binned for a high tackle, and immediately afterwards Walmsley offloaded for the evergreen Roby to twist over from close range.

At that point it looked as though the champions could run away with matters, but Leeds somehow stayed in the game and found a response before half-time.

It came after Saints had their own yellow card, Sione Mata'utia sent for 10 minutes for a high shot on a falling Luke Briscoe.

In his absence, the Rhinos attack eventually clicked sufficiently for Richie Myler to force his way to the line in the corner.

But the visitors’ task was made more difficult again with a second sin bin after the restart to James Donaldson.

Saints capitalised when centre Percival touched down, and sealed the win shortly after Donaldson’s return as Coote’s pass sent Kevin Naiqama over.

Who will win the Super League Grand Final – St Helens or Catalan Dragons? Have your say in the comments below.

The Rhinos scored their second through winger Luke Briscoe with Morgan Knowles now binned for a late hit.

But Saints finished with a flourish young scrum-half Lewis Dodd having a hand in both tries as Percival and Grace completed their doubles.

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