SAINTS loose forward Morgan Knowles was immense in Saturday’s Super League Grand Final – and nothing summed that up more than the way he motored across from centre field to smash Catalans’ runaway wing Fouad Youad.

Plenty of individual performances caught the eye, in what was a gutsy, gritty win after an intense 80 minutes beneath the Old Trafford floodlights.

Knowles’ performance may not have grabbed the headlines, but it was a display that characterised the work ethic and will to win within the group.

All the players had each other’s backs – and that contributed massively to restricting the Dragons to one try from a kick.

The 12-10 triumph saw Saints complete the Super League and Challenge Cup double for the first time since 2006 and match Leeds’ achievement of three successive Grand Final victories.

The victory also confirmed St Helens as the most successful club of the summer era, with a ninth Super League title going back to their inaugural success in 1996.

All this is something Knowles believes deserves more credit and recognition.

However, Knowles reckons all the pre-match build up about Catalans ahead of Saturday’s Old Trafford showpiece under-played what Saints were on the verge of completing.

And that added, if one were needed, an extra incentive – with it more or less being Saints against the rest of the rugby league world in the week and day of the match.

“There was definitely motivation for us because we were portrayed as the villains,” he said.

“Unless you were a Saints fan, everyone wanted to see Catalans win and probably rightly so because they were the underdog and it would be great to see another team win it and especially a French team.

“What Catalans have done is amazing and the expansion is really positive for the game and I’m definitely happy about that.

“They’re probably going to be in more Grand Finals, Steve Mac (McNamara) has done a great job and they’ve recruited the right kind of players.

“But, to be honest, I think we deserve more credit. We’ve been the best team for the last three or four years, although we didn’t win it in 2018.

“But the consistency we’ve had – the win percentage has been better than any other team in Super League.

“British and UK culture likes to see people fail and the underdog win and I think it’s about time now we get the credit we deserve for three wins back-to-back, the Challenge Cup and League Leaders’ along the way.

“I’m really, really proud to be a part of this team and that’s not taking away from Catalans reaching the Grand Final.

“But I think we deserve some credit as well. I’m just really proud to be a part of this group and what we’ve done over these last few years has been special.”

Saints match winner was departing centre Kevin Naiqama, who penned a fairytale ending with a try in each half to earn the Harry Sunderland Trophy.

Knowles plaid tribute to the Fijian skipper as both a player and person.

“He’s unreal,” he said. “He’s one of the nicest blokes I know, let alone played with.

“He’s tough, he’s professional and he speaks really well when he talks to the group.

“Since he’s come in he’s won three out of three (Grand Finals) and, for him to go out winning the Harry Sunderland and scoring two tries, I couldn’t be happier for him. He’s been an absolute credit to himself, his family and the club.”

Normally Saints would lining up thoughts of World Club Challenge, but the pandemic - and restrictions put paid to the annual clash of the Super League and NRL champions in 2021

Although coach Kristian Woolf wants a duel with Penrith Panthers in February - the coach accepts the logistical difficulties, particularly with a tight fixture list and in a World Cup year.

The 24-year-old Knowles played against Nathan Cleary and company when the Saints academy toured Australia in 2013 and would love nothing better than a rematch.

“I played against Cleary and we ended up beating them,” he said.

“It would be good to get an opportunity to play them because we were robbed of that last year with Covid. Nothing can help that but it’s still unfair.”