Dream of a swansong for try scorer Sia

John Bateman and Sia Soliola.
John Bateman and Sia Soliola.
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It was exactly how he would have wanted his stellar Saints career to end.

With a red and white Saints flag draped around his forehead, Sia Soliola lapped up every second of the post-match celebrations after helping his side win the Super League Grand Final in his last game for the club.

Despite the versatile back-rower’s consistency in a Saints shirt in the last five years, it marked his first piece of major silverware in England.

Earlier this year, when the 28-year-old announced he was to move back to Australia following his five-year Saints stint, Soliola vowed “if you opened up my chest you’d find a red vee inside”.

How it showed in the second half at Old Trafford when Saints needed him most.

After struggling to find any fluency and make their man advantage count in a frustrating first half, it was Soliola’s unerring drive from a popped James Roby pass that proved the turning point - and helped earn Saints a lead they never gave up.

Fans’ favourite Soliola, Saints’ player of the year in 2013, is now set to join up with Canberra Raiders in the NRL.

But he will be delighted to be heading back to Oz with a Super League Grand Final winner’s ring.

Soliola’s future had been shrouded in mystery earlier this year after Saints coach Nathan Brown let slip that he had expressed a desire to leave for “family reasons”.

Soliola then admitted in June that a return to the NRL was on the cards - but told of his determination to end his Saints career on a high.

He said: “This is such a professional, well-run club with a lot of history - the only thing we hadn’t done in recent years is win anything.

“The people here are great - I’ve made a lot of friends that I’ll hope to keep in the future.

“There’s a lot of things I’ll miss about St Helens - that’s what made my decision so difficult. I can’t fault this club.”