Saints 80 minutes away from 11th Grand Final

St Helens Alex Walmsley celebrates scoring his second try against Salford Red Devils
St Helens Alex Walmsley celebrates scoring his second try against Salford Red Devils
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Saints will be sweating on two fronts as they move more or less to within 80 minutes of their 11th Old Trafford Grand Final.

Prop forward Alex Walmsley - two-try hero and man of the match in last night’s 30-4 victory over Salford Red Devils at the AJ Bell Stadium - was placed on report for an alleged illegal tackle and also suffered from concussion.

Tempers flare during the game between Saints and Salford Red Devils' Junior Sa'u

Tempers flare during the game between Saints and Salford Red Devils' Junior Sa'u

Now he faces a anxious few days as he awaits the outcome of Tuesday’s disciplinary committee hearing and the verdict on his “head test”.

But he was still all smiles after Saints had notched their 16th victory - and most important to date - of the 2017 campaign.

Walmsley said: “Everyone was writing us off a few weeks ago but we always believed we could reach the play-offs.

“We are a tightly knit group and will always back ourselves.”

St Helens Luke Thompson is tackled by Salford Red Devils' Josh Jones and Logan Tomkins

St Helens Luke Thompson is tackled by Salford Red Devils' Josh Jones and Logan Tomkins

Head coach Justin Holbrook added: “I always had belief in my players and now we’re there. I’m very proud of the team - they’re the ones that have worked really hard.

“It was a tough game, spiteful at times and a bit emotional. It was important we settled down in the second half and we finished it off well so I’m really pleased.

“I’ll now watch with interest. Castleford and Leeds have two very different styles and whoever it is they’re going to be hard to beat, but I’m confident in my team.”

Salford will claim that their hopes of completing a better than expected season on a high were dashed when Ryan Lannon was shown a red card just before the interval for striking Theo Fages.

St Helens Ben Barba is tackled by Salford Red Devils' Gareth O'Brien

St Helens Ben Barba is tackled by Salford Red Devils' Gareth O'Brien

It helped St Helens, who were leading 12-4 at the time, quell their nerves and while they were far from their best against 12 men in the final 40 minutes, they rarely looked likely to lose the game

Only a victory for last year’s champions Wigan Warriors by 90 points or more at Wakefield tomorrow (Saturday), coupled with a Hull win or draw at leaders Castleford tonight (Friday), can deny Holbrook’s outfit a semi-finals spot.

If Hull lose at Cas , Saints will travel to Leeds Rhinos in the last four. A Hull win or draw means St Helens visit Cas.