Oh The Saints, will march to win
It's been one of the best seasons of Rugby since the Super League era began back in 1996 and what a way to end it as Wigan (4/6) and St Helens (5/4) go head to head in the showpiece final at Old Trafford. The bitter local rivals have never met in the Grand Final and it's sure to be a tense occasion with neither side wanting to be remembered for losing to the old enemy on the biggest stage of all.
St Helens go into the game knowing a win would make them the most successful team in Super League with five Grand Final wins. They are currently tied with Leeds on four wins apiece.
This is their fifth consecutive final appearance and eighth in total which makes them the most consistent performers overall. They have however lost the final in the last three seasons, each time to Leeds Rhinos, and they will need to get over that fact if they are to triumph.
Wigan on the other hand have not had a Grand Final success since 1998 and you have to go back to 2003 since they made the final, on that occasion they were thumped 37-6 against Bradford Bulls.
The Warriors qualified for Old Trafford the hard way after losing to Leeds in their first match. They bounced back to beat Hull KR before going to Headingley to gain their revenge on the Rhinos. Meanwhile, St Helens beat Warrington and Huddersfield in their final two games at Knowsley Road to setup this encounter with their neighbours.
Keiron Cunningham or 'King Keiron' as he is known to the Saints faithful will be playing his last game for the club on Saturday evening before his retirement. He has been an absolute inspiration throughout his career and especially this season and there is even talk he could change his decision to quit in favour of one more season at the club. Can he produce another match winning performance? He is 11/4 to pick up the Harry Sutherland Trophy.
Wigan's newly crowned Man of Steel Pat Richards has been consistently brilliant this season and is 8/1 to be man of the match. Free-scoring Richards topped both the try scoring and goal kicking charts, and he is also 8/1 to score the first try. If you think he will be faultless with the boot he is 6/4 not to miss a penalty or conversion attempt.
Overall, I think the game will be a close fought affair which could be decided in the last ten minutes of the game therefore I would place a pound or two on the Draw (22/1).
These games are usually low scoring in the first 20 minutes as both teams put their all into defence. The longer the game remains scoreless increases the chances that the first scoring play will be a penalty as both sides look to end the deadlock. It's 6/1 for the first scoring play to be a Wigan penalty and 7/1 for Saints to take the two. I would back both of those.
I think Saints extra experience in these games will make the difference I would back them to win in 80 minutes at a price of 5/4. If they are to win they need a big performance from Francis Meli, I expect him to get at least one try so our Wincast market (player to score anytime and their team to win) price of 11/4 is tempting.
The Rugby League action doesn't stop here as Sunday morning sees the NRL Grand Final take place at the ANZ Stadium. St George Dragons (4/7) take on the Sydney Roosters (5/4) and I expect the underdogs to prevail in that game too.
St George were lucky to get through their semi-final tie against Wests Tigers last weekend relying on a late drop goal to win 13-12. They were never ahead until that kick went over and Sydney Roosters will take heart after they came through their semi with no such scares.
St George won both the encounters when the teams met in the regular season but that doesn't tell the whole story as the Roosters didn't have the run of the ball and I think they will reverse the form. The St Helens/Sydney Roosters double pays a whopping 4/1 and that would be my selection. Enjoy your sporting weekend!
The Super League Grand Final kicks off at 18:05 on Saturday, the NRL Final at 7:05am on Sunday.