Saints have set their sights on completing a unique hat-trick of Grand Final triumphs by reaching Old Trafford from fifth position in the Super League table.
Leeds Rhinos defied almost insurmountable odds by lifting the crown at Old Trafford in 2011 and 2012 after finishing the regular season one rung outside the top four - and making it three in a row is now the awesome and daunting challenge facing Nathan Brown’s boys.
“I suppose Leeds’ success over the past couple of years has gives every team hope of following in their footsteps and we will be giving it our
best shots,” said Brown.
However, a date at Old Trafford next month is the furthest thing from his mind as he attempts to mastermind victory in what appears, on paper, to be a tough-looking first hurdle against Hull KR at Langtree Park on Saturday, kick-off 5pm.
The Humbersiders are the only club to lower Saints’ colours three times this season - twice in the league and also in the fourth round of the
Tetley’s Challenge Cup - but the Aussie head coach insisted: “This weekend’s match is now the only one which really matters.”
He added: “Rovers are a good side and possess some talented players in key positions and we will have to be at our best to progress to the next phase.”
But Brown will have the luxury of being able to chose from a nearly fully fit squad - a far cry from the situation earlier in the season when Saints were beset by injuries - and is expected to select the same 19-strong squad which he pencilled-in ahead of last Friday’s game at Hull FC.
This will include hooker James Roby who returned to first team duty at the KC Stadium last week after being sidelined with an ankle injury sustained at Castleford in early July.
“James suffered no adverse reaction to the injury and that is a bonus as far as we are concerned,” said Brown.
The coach is also urging supporters to roll up in their thousands on Saturday night and give the players the kind of encouragement which could be the difference between progressing in the play-offs or exiting at the first hurdle
“The fans have supported us through thick and thin this year and have a vital role to play.” said Brown.
Tickets for the elimination play-off went on general sale yesterday (Tuesday) priced £15 for adults, £13 concessions and young adults and £5
They are selling well and fans are urged to buy now or be disappointed.