SO it is set up, the last game of this unusual, challenging Covid-impacted season will be between the two oldest foes Saints v Wigan.

This week in the run up to Friday’s Grand Final we will take a glimpse at some of past ‘final’ meetings between the sides – when Saints have triumphed in the very last game of the season.

Kicking off we start with the Championship Final from 1971 – the first ever title decider between Saints and Wigan.

And it is one which is still talked about today, due to its dramatic ending, in front of 21,743 spectators at Station Road, Swinton.

It had been a fast, open, exciting game with Saints’ skipper Kel Coslett kicking two penalties and a drop goal, then a two-pointer, in response to Dave Robinson’s try for the Riversiders to give them a 6-3 lead at half time.

Wigan’s crafty second row man Bill Ashurst, who won the Harry Sunderland Award after tormenting Saints with his astute kicking game, put the old enemy in the driving seat with a converted try.

It got worse for Saints, with Welsh second row man John Mantle sent off for retaliation – and with Ashurst’s two drop goals giving Wigan a commanding 12-6 lead. (A two-score lead back then).

A tough task, but the 12 men demonstrated that the old adage of ‘Never write off the Saints’ is not a summer era tagline.

With seven minutes remaining, the ball was shift to the left wing where Bob Blackwood finished off in the corner.

Coslett showed nerves of steel to slot the conversion and cut the deficit to 12-11.

It was a race against time, and as the clock ticked down to full time John Walsh swung his boot into action from 40 yards out. In a remarkable sequence, the kick went high and wide – but all was not lost. Fellow centre Billy Benyon, playing on despite a debilitating shoulder injury, was up like a shot to catch the bouncing ball and force his way past Stuart Wright’s tackle on the line.

Wiganers cried foul, claiming the ‘One-armed bandit’ had been offside – but there was no anxious wait for the video ref. The ref Mr Lawrinson pointed to the ground – try given.

Coslett’s goal on the hooter had given Saints a 16-12 victory – backing up the title win from the year before.

Now that is something Saints will be looking to emulate on Friday night.

Saints: Pimblett; Jones, Benyon, Walsh, Blackwood; Whittle, Heaton; Stephens, Karalius, Rees, Mantle, Chisnall, Coslett. Subs: Kelly and Wanbon.