SINCE Saints defeated Wigan on Friday to reach Old Trafford we have had a some armchair mathematicians working out probabilities and the law of averages, and no shortage of soothsayers spelling out what it means for the the Grand Final.

First off, a winning a run of matches is nothing like tossing a coin - just because Saints have pasted Wigan four times and not lost in the north of England does not mean it is time to lose.

Secondly, for every pattern showing teams can lose the Grand Final after a week off under this system, an equal number can prove the contrary.

But it is worth taking a few lessons from history on board, whether Saints play Wigan or Salford at Old Trafford.

This top five system is less brutal on the leading teams than the 1 v 4 that preceded it, but it does throw up the quirk that the teams from the first semi often meet in the final.

And since its inception Saints have experienced every single permutation; from being blown away by the Bulls in the 1999 semi to turning it around in the final two weeks later to bouncing past Wigan in 2000 and taking that confidence into the final.

But the ones that will give Saints fans a few sleepless nights are the ones of 2007 and 2008.

In the first of those, although Saints won a tight, bruising game against Leeds - Tony Smith’s men had got their number and Daniel Anderson's men were trounced at Old Trafford.

But in Anderson’s last series as a Saint, they looked untouchable and were unbeaten from round 10 and demolished Leeds in the semi only to falter in the torrential Manchester rain, prompting the normally cool and calm Saints boss to boot the bucket in the dressing room.

It s not about being a harbinger of doom, simply reinforcing the view coming out of the Saints camp since Friday morning - that it is not won yet.

The pats on the back can wait for another week.