Yates' view: Remembering the 1999 Grand Final win

Saints' head coach Kristian Woolf will be keeping a close eye on Friday's Warrington Wolves-Hull KR eliminating play-off clash at the Halliwell Jones Stadium and hopefully picking up one or two pointers which will be useful further down the line.

Tuesday, 21st September 2021, 2:40 pm
Updated Tuesday, 21st September 2021, 2:42 pm
TheS aints players celebrate victory after the Super League Grand Final win against Bradford at Old Trafford in 1999

Defending champions St Helens will be seeking their third successive Grand Final victory - a feat only achieved in the past by West Yorkshire rivals Leeds Rhinos - and at the same time focusing on equalling the Loiners' record of eight wins in the end-of-season Old Trafford showpiece.

There is, however, still a great deal to play for at this moment in time and some cracking play-off matches look to be on the horizon.

But how many fans vividly recall Saints' first-ever win in the final? To refresh memories, it was played at the Theatre of Dreams against Matthew Elliott's Bradford Bulls on Saturday. October 9, 1999, in front of a 50,717-strong crowd.

St Helens and Bradford were two of the leading lights in the early years of summer rugby, having already met in two Challenge Cup Finals, and those lucky enough to get a ticket for the Manchester showdown were licking their lips at the prospect of a rip-roaring end of the season clash due to the quality of player in both line-ups .

Sadly, it never scaled the heights expected in terms of skilful attacking play but underdogs St Helens clawed their way to an 8-6 triumph on the back of an exceptional defensive display and no one could begrudge them their moment of glory under the management of the legendary Ellery Hanley in the only year of his tenure at Knowsley Road.

The Bulls opened the scoring with a 19th minute try from Henry Paul, which he also goaled, but it was the last occasion they breached the Saints' line.

A penalty goal by substitute Sean Long cut the interval deficit to 6-2 and in the second half he added a goal to Kevin Iro's crucial try.

Teams - Saints: Paul Atcheson, Chris Smith, Kevin Iro, Paul Newlove, Anthony Sullivan, Paul Sculthorpe, Tommy Martyn, Apollo Perelini, Keiron Cunningham, Julian O'Neill, Freddie Tuilagi, SonnyNickle, Chris Joynt (capt). Subs: Sean Long, Sean Hoppe, Vila Mata'utia, Paul Wellens.

Bradford Bulls: Stuart Spruce, Tevita Vaikona, Scott Naylor, Michael Withers, Leon Pryce, Henry Paul, Robbie Hunter-P(capt) l, Paul Anderson, James Lowes, Stuart Fielden, David Boyle, Bernard Dwyer, Steve McNamara.

Subs: Paul Deacon, Mike Forshaw, Brian McDermott, NathanMcAvoy.

Play-off fixtures

Thu 23 Sep: Wigan Warriors v Leeds Rhinos

Fri 24 Sep: Warrington Wolves v Hull KR

Thu 30 Sep: Catalans Dragons v Wigan/Leeds/Hull KR

Fri 1 Oct: St Helens v Warrington/Wigan/Leeds

Sat 9 Oct: Grand Final (Old Trafford)