BACK-to-back Super League champions Saints had many individual heroes in Friday night’s Grand Final win over Wigan.

And though the final touchdown was magnificently secured by teen prodigy Jack Welsby, led by skipper James Roby and fired by 69-tackles of James Bentley, the year’s triumph was ultimately down to a collective effort in the face of the most challenging of seasons.

So it was no wonder that loudest cheer of the night came when the non-playing squad members ran on to the pitch at the end of the match to greet the victorious 17.

There was a celebration of what has been a united effort, which coach Kristian Woolf explained was about more than simply taking the field on matchday.

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Woolf said: “We have spoken all along since we came back from the Covid lockdown that it has been very much a squad effort.

“It has been so for a number of reasons, not only because we have had to rotate the squad and all those blokes have come in and played games when we have had niggles.

“We have had our injury dramas, as many as any other team, and the only time this year we have put the same team on the field twice in a row was the semi-final and the final.

“That shows we have had a lot of contribution from those squad members.

“But the other thing those guys have done really well is going nearly a whole year with so little rugby – with some of them playing just one game since March.

“They have turned up every week and performed in opposed sessions against us in training.

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“They have remained motivated in training at an elite level and all those things add up to help the whole mood of the squad and the preparation of the team that plays every week.

“The emotion that was heard and seen at the end of the game when the non-players ran on was an acknowledgement as to what those players have done.”

Pictures: Copyright Bernard Platt