The Catalans Dragons and St Helens Saints meet on Saturday in the Super League Final, which crowns the best rugby league team in Europe.
It’s surprising to see one team at -300 at the sportsbook to win the final, but St Helens has been heavily backed to win another Super League title. However, the Dragons could erupt and take the title to France.
Old Trafford plays host to the final and we’re expecting a tight contest.
Catalans Ready for Toughest Test
Despite leading the premiership with 19 wins from 23 games, the Catalans Dragons aren’t getting much respect in the final.
The France-based team has produced the goods in 2021, and bettors get +8½ points in Saturday’s final despite the face it beat Hull KR Robins 28-10 last week.
Benjamin Garcia scored the opening try for the Dragons and with former NRL star James Maloney controlling the game, the outcome was never in doubt.
📅 September 30, 2017: Catalans Dragons recover from a 6-4 half-time deficit to beat Leigh 26-10 in the Million Pound Game and save their Super League place.
📅 September 30, 2021: Catalans Dragons qualify for the @Betfred Super League Grand Final.
👏 An incredible four years. pic.twitter.com/OkYH2ONTQs
— Rugby Football League (@TheRFL) September 30, 2021
They completely shut out the talented Robins, who scored only 10 points with Ryan Hall and Shaun Kenny-Dowall. It should give the Dragons confidence heading into the final and Garcia believes his team can go all the way.
“Now we can wait and take time to enjoy the win with the fans. It means a lot to the people … we can see what expansion can do,” Garcia told Fox Sports. “In front of a full house, this is the best atmosphere I’ve seen. We can see all year that we work hard, we have a young team and good leaders. I think we can go all the way.I can’t really explain how much it means.
“I’ve played at Wembley but Old Trafford is a different thing, it’s hard work all season. I cannot wait for next Saturday.”
It has been a long time coming for the Dragons, who were always going to need time to find their rhythm. Having the experienced James Maloney on the squad is a bonus, and the 35-year-old still has an ability to turn the games on its head.
Saints March into Final
Rugby league betting markets heavily favor the Saints to win the Super League, which isn’t surprising given the way they won last week.
St Helens defeated the Wigan Warriors 36-8 as a 12½-point favorite. It was a comprehensive performance for a team that had lost 26-14 to the Red Devils in Round 25 of the regular season.
St Helens thrash Leeds Rhinos 36-8 to advance to the Super League Grand Final at Old Trafford
— Sky Sports News (@SkySportsNews) October 1, 2021
Regan Grace and Mark Percival scored a double before Kevin Naiqama and James Roby added tries. St Helens held a comfortable halftime lead before exercising its class late, which bodes well for the final.
Saints coach Kristian Woolf is preparing for a tough final against Catalans.
“We certainly haven’t won anything yet. We have a lot of hard work to go and do,” Woolf said. “We are playing a very, very tough side in Catalans.
“One thing I know this group will do is that they are going to give themselves every chance.”
Dragons Edged St Helens Last Time
It was only a month ago when the Dragons and Saints met, which resulted in a 31-30 victory for the Dragons.
It was a real team effort as former New Zealand Warriors Sam Tomkins and Maloney played superb league. It was a late drop goal from Maloney that sealed the game, so he could be the determining factor again.
Lachlan Coote, who used to play for the 2021 NRL champions Penrith Panthers, was instrumental for the Saints. He kicked all five conversions, but despite leading 18-6 at the half, St Helens was unable to see off the Dragons.
Bet online markets haven’t taken that game into account when framing markets for the final. We expected a 4½nt-poi margin, so bettors get a generous line with Catalans.
We expect money to come for the French side throughout the week. It’s a popular betting team, and despite bookmakers favoring St Helens at -300 in moneyline markets, we would have a sniff at the +200 for Catalans.