IT’S almost time… time for Saints to finally get their hands back on that elusive Challenge Cup trophy.

Not only has it been so long since winning it – 11 years to be precise – we haven’t even appeared in a final at Wembley since beating Hull FC in 2008.

I am very familiar with that stat myself, for that was my last ever game wearing the famous red V!

Why has there been such a barren period? I think that was the start of a transitional period for the club, with a lot of the successful noughties team coming towards the back end of their careers and a new younger inexperienced team was just coming through. It’s something every team goes through, as we’ve seen at Wigan and Leeds more recently.

However, I do believe we are on the verge of having a squad that can dominate again for the next decade, with some of the Betfred Super League’s finest young stars such as Percival, Makinson and Knowles on board… and it all starts on Saturday!

This is something that Saints skipper James Roby, the sole survivor of that triumph 11 years ago, has challenged his players to do – to start creating their legacy.

We go head-to-head with arch rivals Warrington in what promises to be a blockbuster final.

And given our dominance in the Betfred Super League, it’s no surprise to see St Helens are clear favourites to lift the trophy, at 2/5 with the league’s title sponsors – while Warrington are an 11/5 shot.

Saints without a doubt go into the game in the better form. They look virtually unbeatable in the league having won the League Leaders’ Shield at a canter, even when resting senior players and fielding the youngsters.

Wolves on the other hand have tailed off dramatically, losing their last five Betfred Super League game and looking like a shadow of the team earlier in the season.

However, as proven in years gone by, finals are all about the 80 minutes ahead and previous results count for nothing.

That being said, I just can’t see our boys letting this one slip and so I’m backing Saints to finally bring the Challenge Cup back home with a win in style by 20 points – which is 9/4 at Betfred.

My message to the team is; go out and deliver!

Play smart and don’t let the occasion get to you, but leave absolutely nothing in the tank… and take one step closer to the all-conquering clean sweep.

Now that would be the perfect parting gift for our brilliant gaffer Justin Holbrook!