IT'S the Betfred Super League Grand Final that everyone wanted to see…the current Champions Saints against the 2021 League Leaders Shield winners the Catalans Dragons.

Let’s hope it lives up to its billing and showcases our fantastic game to the masses watching from all over the world.

I’m going to cut to the chase and say now - Saints will win and achieve the famous ‘three peat’...taking the Betfred Super League trophy for the third year running.

Title sponsors Betfred have the Saints as 2/5 favourites to win the game - and if like me you think they will do it by 10 points or more, then you can get that at 11/10.

Don’t get me wrong, Catalans have their stars, and some of the best to play our great game.

Also, finally this season they have shown the consistency that has long been missing, only losing four of their 23 matches in the regular fixtures, with one of them wins coming in that unforgettable ‘Magic’ comeback against us in Newcastle.

However, like the first 75 minutes of that game proved, St Helens are clearly the best team in the competition. A team with no weak links, unlike a lot of teams in the Betfred Super League, a team who’s players would pretty much walk into any opposition side.

St Helens Star:

The sheer class of Coote, the speed of Grace, the power of Walmsley, the brilliance of Roby to name a few, and are some of the reasons I believe that success is in their own hands.

Catalans have their own dangers, and it’s a fact they will not be taken lightly. The key positions throughout the Dragons spine are as good as any team - apart from Saints - in the Betfred Super League.

The halfback partnership of Josh Drinkwater and James Maloney, the no nonsense Mickey McIllorum , together with the mercurial new Steve Prescott MBE ‘Man of Steel’ winner Sam Tomkins have enough class and experience to win games on their own.

Tomkins however, still to be given the all clear to play after suffering a medial knee injury in the final regular season game. My opinion: 100% he’ll play but the big question is will he be fit to last the distance?

One major emotion the Dragons will be calling on come 6pm on Saturday at the ‘Theatre of Dreams’ Old Trafford is the imminent retirement of Aussie star James Maloney who plays his last game for the French side.

The former NRL and State of Origin star has been a major factor in the rise of the Catalan side in the past few seasons, no doubt having a big influence alongside former England Coach - and the recently named ‘2021 Coach of the year’ Steve McNamara.

Macca has been instrumental in changing the culture of this team, and along with some fantastic recruitment, which has led them into their first ever Betfred Super League Grand Final.

St Helens Star:

Saints gaffer Kristian Woolf is under no illusion what a tough side they face, which he emphasised following Saints 36-8 demolition of a poor Leeds Rhinos side.

Some key battles I’ve picked out that could determine this result:

Coote Vs Tomkins- both exceptionally clever footballers who can read a game and also cut down defences effortlessly.

Lomax Vs Maloney- two key indicators for their respective teams…usually where these two are- the ball goes! Big players in the big games.

Walmsley Vs Kasiano the two biggest men on the field. Imperative that before the halves are able to play that the forwards first win the battle up front, and these two regularly hurt opposition defences.

Roby Vs McIllorum- if the forwards do get on top look out for these two. Both intelligent footballers who touch the ball more than anyone else…also two great work rates on defence, regularly leading the way in the tackle counts.

So, absolutely no doubts this should be an absolute classic….but I’m going to stick with my beliefs all year, and count on the Saints marching on to a third title in a row.