Yates' view: Cracking matches in store in the race for Old Trafford

Salford's Jackson Hastings, Warington's Josh Charnley, Wigan's George Williams, St Helens' Luke Thompson and Castleford's Cheyse Blair all set for the Super League play-offs. Picture: SWPix
Salford's Jackson Hastings, Warington's Josh Charnley, Wigan's George Williams, St Helens' Luke Thompson and Castleford's Cheyse Blair all set for the Super League play-offs. Picture: SWPix

Saints may have smashed one or two records on their way to achieving top spot at the end of the regular Betfred Super League season but as any Northerner would say it will count for nowt unless RL's Holy Grail returns to the club next month after a four-year absence.


The League Leaders' Shield is already in the trophy cabinet - small consolation some may feel for the Coral Challenge Cup Final defeat against Warrington Wolves - but now everything is totally focused on one goal ... victory in the Old Trafford Grand Final.

Justin Holbrook's side will avoid this week's opening round of the play-offs in which Wigan Warriors face Salford Red Devils and Warrington Wolves lock horns with Castleford Tigers.

Whether the short break will be beneficial only time will tell but 12 months ago Saints were in exactly the same position before losing a home semi-final to Warrington.

Obviously, they will be keeping more than a watching brief on the Wigan-Salford showdown on Friday and wondering, like me, what the outcome will be.

Saints meet the winners at the Totally Wicked Stadium and having beaten both home and away this season will be hoping to maintain that record.

But who do they fancy? The Warriors and Red Devils have both been in tremendous form lately but I've a hunch they would prefer a fourth derby of the season than face Ian Watson's boys who on their last visit to St Helens in May were decidedly unlucky to lose 32-30.

I might be wrong but whatever happens in this year's finale there are some cracking matches in the pipeline.

One player who will be hoping to take his try scoring exploitsinto the play-offs is winger Tommy Makinson.

He topped the charts with 23 touch downs in the regular season - one more than Ash Handley (Leeds Rhinos) and Niall Evalds (Salford) and four in front of team-mate Regan Grace (20).

Other St Helens players in the top 20 were: Kevin Naiqama (17), Jonny Lomax (16) and Lachlan Coote (14).

Aussie full back Coote also finished with 95 goals - nine adrift of Marc Sneyd (Hull FC).

THE four-man short-list for this year’s Super League Coach of the Year award has been revealed.

St Helens head coach Justin Holbrook, Salford Red Devils Ian Watson, Warrington's Steve Price and London Broncos' Danny Ward have all been nominated by their peers for the 2019 accolade with the winner set to be announced at the annual Super League awards on Sunday, October 6.

Holbrook has steered St Helens to their second successive League Leaders' Shield, while Price has won the Challenge Cup with Warrington Wolves for the first time since 2012.

Salford Red Devils have had a hugely successful season under Watson and have already secured their place in the play-offs, while London Broncos narrowly failed to hold on to their Super League status - going down in the final match at Wakefield Trinity.