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Magic Weekend 2021: Tremendous League’s prime two St Helens and Catalans Dragons set for a heavyweight conflict to savour | Rugby League Information

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First-placed Catalans tackle champions St Helens on day one of many Betfred Tremendous League’s Dacia Magic Weekend; watch all six matches from St James’ Park on Saturday and Sunday stay on Sky Sports activities

Final Up to date: 02/09/21 1:02pm

St Helens and Catalans face off in a top-of-the-table conflict at Magic Weekend

Anthony Joshua places his world titles on the road in opposition to Oleksandr Usyk stay on Sky Sports activities Field Workplace later this month, however a hotly anticipated heavyweight conflict of a unique form takes place in Newcastle on Saturday night.

In a single nook, the reigning, back-to-back Tremendous League champions St Helens. Within the different, the up-and-coming French challengers Catalans Dragons, who sit atop the Tremendous League standings with three rounds of the common season remaining.

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The showdown between first and second within the competitors on day one among Magic Weekend at St James’ Park marks the third time the edges could have met this yr and though Saints triumphed 34-12 in opposition to an under-strength Catalans aspect at Completely Depraved Stadium slightly below a month in the past, they know it will likely be totally different this time round as they bid to slay the Dragons.

St Helens vs Catalans Dragons

September 4, 2021, 5:15pm

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“They’ve been in all probability one of the best group all year long and are rightly sitting on prime,” St Helens prop Alex Walmsley mentioned. “They’re deservedly there and so they’ve actually turned a web page.

“You’ll be able to take a look at Catalans groups of {old} and so they have in all probability not had that away-game consistency up to now, but it surely’s clearly one thing they’ve knuckled down on this yr and sorted that aspect.

“They’re in all probability attaining what they’ve been seeking to obtain for just a few years now, so it may be a tricky sport.”

Regardless of the end result of this newest encounter, which is stay on Sky Sports activities together with the opposite 5 video games from Magic Weekend, it’s extremely possible St Helens and Catalans will meet once more within the play-offs – maybe even within the Grand Last at {Old} Trafford on October 9.

You’ll be able to take a look at Catalans groups of {old} and so they’ve in all probability not had that away-game consistency up to now, but it surely’s clearly one thing they’ve knuckled down on this yr and sorted that aspect.

St Helens prop Alex Walmsley

The Dragons are aiming to succeed in Tremendous League’s showpiece match for the primary time, having emerged as real contenders on the again of their historic 2018 Problem Cup success and been simply 80 minutes away from a maiden Grand Last look in final yr’s pandemic-disrupted season.

Head coach Steve McNamara has received many plaudits for reworking the French aspect right into a membership who can problem rugby league’s established order and is filled with respect for his or her rivals who’ve been topped champions a complete of 15 instances of their historical past, with eight of these coming within the Tremendous League period.

“They’ve been the benchmark group for the previous few seasons, first beneath Justin (Holbrook) and now beneath Kristian (Woolf), and if you discuss consistency…they’ve carried out that in all probability as a membership for over 100 years, if we’re being trustworthy,” McNamara, whose aspect ended St Helens’ unbeaten begin to the marketing campaign with a 20-16 win in Perpignan in Might, mentioned.

“However significantly, all through the Tremendous League period, for me they’ve been a extremely, actually good group. They’re the benchmark, they’re what we’re all aiming for and we look ahead to the problem this weekend.

Highlights as Catalans Dragons became the first team to defeat St Helens in the Betfred Super League in 2021

Highlights as Catalans Dragons turned the primary group to defeat St Helens within the Betfred Tremendous League in 2021

Highlights as Catalans Dragons turned the primary group to defeat St Helens within the Betfred Tremendous League in 2021

“I really feel we’re deserved to be the place we are actually, based mostly on what we’ve got carried out this season, however whether or not we need to be the League Leaders or win a Grand Last shall be decided by what we do subsequent.”

St Helens go into the match on the again of a 24-14 win over one among their longer-standing, closer-to-home rivals in Warrington Wolves on Financial institution Vacation Monday, with the conflict on the Halliwell Jones Stadium seeing either side produce jaw-dropping ranges of depth from minute one to 80.

Entrance-row Walmsley was within the thick of it for the hosts, carrying for practically 100 metres with the ball in hand and making 22 tackles in defence, and believes these matches are superb preparation as this yr’s Problem Cup winners bid for a 3rd consecutive Grand Last triumph.

“The sport on Monday, for me, was as intense as any Tremendous League sport I’ve performed in,” Walmsley mentioned.

Highlights of St Helens' win over Warrington Wolves on Bank Holiday Monday

Highlights of St Helens’ win over Warrington Wolves on Financial institution Vacation Monday

Highlights of St Helens’ win over Warrington Wolves on Financial institution Vacation Monday

“I’ve performed in semi-finals and finals, and it was proper up there, so it is solely going to place us in good stead for what’s developing on Saturday in one other powerful problem in opposition to the in-form group.

“It does not get any simpler, however we need to be taking part in in opposition to one of the best to ensure we’re prepared come the play-offs and hopefully getting again to {Old} Trafford.”

Catalans, in the meantime, cantered to a 64-0 win at dwelling to backside aspect Leigh Centurions and will safe the League Leaders’ Protect for the primary time of their historical past on Saturday.

McNamara shouldn’t be getting distracted by that prospect or the considered his group obtained the trophy in Perpignan after their dwelling match in opposition to Huddersfield Giants the next week, focusing solely on toppling St Helens in Newcastle.

I really feel we’re deserved to be the place we are actually, based mostly on what we have carried out this season, however whether or not we need to be the League Leaders or in or win a Grand Last shall be decided by what we do subsequent.

Catalans head coach Steve McNamara

“We have now in all probability received the largest sport of the season on the largest stage of the season thus far for us,” McNamara mentioned.

“I do know Saints performed at Wembley, however for us it is that is actually big-game feeling and all of that different stuff is aspect stuff and for different folks to speak about.

“It could be good [to win the League Leaders’ Shield this weekend] however, in actuality, all of the gamers and coaches are bothered about is making ready for this weekend, having fun with the event and placing in a extremely good efficiency.

“If meaning we win and win the League Leaders’ Protect, we’ll take pleasure in the advantages of that afterwards.”





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