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Can St Helens keep improving after three Super League titles in a row? | Super League

How do you enhance on greatness? It’s a query many rugby league golf equipment have by no means even actually needed to ponder. However because the mud settles on one other historic evening for St Helens, it’s maybe honest to take a step again and never solely admire the dimensions of their newest achievement, however marvel the place the Tremendous League champions go subsequent after once more efficiently defending their Super League title on Saturday night.

The Saints are solely the third membership within the sport’s 126-year historical past to win the championship three seasons in a row, emulating Wigan’s legendary class of the Nineties and the Leeds aspect that received it in 2007, 2008 and 2009. Nonetheless, this doesn’t really feel like the top for a gaggle of gamers but to hit their collective peak. “I’m very assured in what we’re going to do going ahead,” their coach, Kristian Woolf, stated on Saturday night.

“The vast majority of the group will nonetheless be right here subsequent 12 months, and there’s a piece ethic and a tradition constructed into them. They’re going to exit and compete simply as laborious as they did this 12 months.” The likes of long-serving scrum-half Theo Fages and full-back Lachlan Coote will head for pastures new in 2022, however St Helens have lengthy been making ready their replacements in Jack Welsby and Lewis Dodd, each of whom performed in Saturday’s remaining.

Fages’s St Helens profession was lower quick by damage, which gave Dodd an prolonged run within the aspect forward of a everlasting function because the membership’s first-choice No 7 subsequent 12 months. “It didn’t finish badly this 12 months, did it,” he stated on Saturday, smiling. “My likelihood as a half-back got here in the way in which no person needed, myself included. Theo is a good man, and I knew I needed to do him justice for the way good he’s been for the membership, but additionally take my likelihood.”

Lewis Dodd has established himself in the St Helens team.
Lewis Dodd has established himself within the St Helens workforce. {Photograph}: Zac Goodwin/PA

Dodd and the remainder of the marginally new-look St Helens class of 2022 will flip their consideration to the potential of the prospect to turn into world champions once more subsequent spring. Covid-19 disadvantaged the Saints an opportunity to face final 12 months’s Australian champions, Melbourne Storm. However there’s a hope that the World Membership Problem may be revived for subsequent 12 months, which might imply a showdown with the NRL’s greatest, Penrith Panthers.

“The media portrayed us as villains going into this,” the St Helens ahead, Morgan Knowles, stated. “British tradition likes to see individuals fail and see an underdog win, but it surely’s about time we get the credit score we deserve. We’re the most effective workforce, we’ve been the most effective workforce for the final three or 4 years and the consistency we’ve proven has been higher than any workforce round in Super League. Covid robbed us of the World Membership Problem final 12 months however it will be good to get an opportunity to play them.”

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Toulouse enter Tremendous League

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The Catalans Dragons captain Remi Casty expressed his delight after serving to Toulouse to hitch his former membership in Tremendous League however insisted he wouldn’t be round to play within the 2022 French derbies.

The 36-year-old former France Check prop, who was discarded by the Dragons on the finish of 2020, confirmed his retirement after Toulouse’s 34-12 victory in opposition to Featherstone within the Million Pound Sport, which ensured there could be two French groups within the prime flight subsequent 12 months.

“It is over,” Casty advised Sky Sports activities. “This was the final dance and what a day for it. This membership has fought for 10 years to get into Tremendous League. It tried in 2005 when Catalans received however stored going and I am thrilled for the membership and for French rugby league. I am upset Catalans misplaced [in the Super League Grand Final] however French rugby league goes up.”

The centre Mathieu Jussaume scored two of Toulouse’s 5 tries and the full-back Mark Kheirallah kicked seven targets from eight makes an attempt as Sylvain Houles’s aspect made it 20 wins in a row to the delight of a crowd of 9,235 at Stade Ernest Wallon.

“I am misplaced for phrases, it is unbelievable,” Houles stated. “Who would have thought just a few years in the past we’d have a packed floor for a grand remaining who assist get us promoted into Tremendous League? They pushed the boys all the way in which, it is magnificent.”

Toulouse led 16-0 at half-time and have been pressured to resist a Featherstone fightback earlier than clinching victory due to late tries from the veterans Harrison Hansen and Johnathon Ford.

Ford, a 32-year-old Prepare dinner Islands worldwide who has been with Toulouse since 2011, says promotion might be a significant increase for the 13-man code within the south of France. “It is enormous,” he stated. 

“It is massive for rugby league typically to see the expansion of the sport, not only for us however for the group of Toulouse and rugby league in France. It is one of many predominant causes I hung round for therefore lengthy. I am so happy with all of the gamers who’ve been part of this. It is fairly surreal, I am stoked.” PA Media 

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Dodd and Knowles, each merchandise of the endless St Helens manufacturing line, have a singular alternative to take this membership not solely into a brand new period with out the likes of Coote and Fages, however proceed the dominance they’ve established for the final three seasons. An opportunity to face Penrith and win the world crown would even be becoming for gamers comparable to Dodd, who has toured Australia with the Saints’ academy previously, and returned residence a winner.

“It was an unimaginable expertise for the younger boys to be taught the sport,” he stated. “It modified me massively and put me on this place now.” It felt as if one period ended on Saturday evening, however because the Saints’ new guard prepares to take the three-times champions ahead, you marvel precisely the place the ceiling is for this well-known previous membership.

https://www.theguardian.com/sport/2021/oct/10/st-helens-champions-super-league-titles-hat-trick | Can St Helens preserve enhancing after three Tremendous League titles in a row? | Tremendous League

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