Jack Welsby's last-gasp try saw St Helens defend their Super League title in remarkable fashion in a low-scoring 8-4 victory over rivals Wigan Warriors at the KCOM Stadium.

Saints had tied things up late on in Hull through Lachlan Coote's penalty after Jake Bibby had scored the first try of the game for Wigan in the 66th minute.

Zak Hardaker missed a penalty of his own for Wigan and drama ensued when Zak Makinson's drop-goal for Saints hit the post.

Welsby reacted quickest to the rebound to score for Saints, who had peppered the Wigan tryline in the first half but led just 2-0 at the break, to make it back-to-back Grand Final triumphs.

It means veteran James Graham retires on top in the first Grand Final held away from Old Trafford, but for legendary Warriors star Sean O'Loughlin it was a heart-breaking end to a fine career.

Wigan, League Leaders Shield winners, have now lost three of the four Grand Finals they have played against their fierce rivals. 

St Helens will have the opportunity to defend their Super League title against Wigan Warriors in the Grand Final after dismantling the undisciplined Catalans Dragons on Friday.

Saints were stunning 48-2 winners in a complete mismatch of a play-off semi-final as Kevin Naiqama ran in a hat-trick of tries.

James Maloney kicked the first points of the game for Catalans, but he soon departed for the sin bin following a rugged challenge on Regan Grace and the visitors fell apart.

Lachlan Coote - consistent with the boot throughout - nudged the champions in front with the opening try and there was no looking back.

Naiqama got his first score before James Graham's final Saints home game ended in disappointing fashion as he failed to return after a head injury.

It mattered not as his team-mates did the business in his absence after half-time.

A relentless display saw Naiqama in for his second three minutes after the restart, then Coote doubled his tally and Jonny Lomax added try number five.

Ben Garcia became the second Dragons man to see yellow and again Saints capitalised, scoring with James Bentley, Naiqama - completing his treble - and then Grace to seal a sublime victory.

Wigan Warriors moved top of Super League with an impressive and intense 18-6 win at St Helens that put them in pole position to lift the League Leaders' Shield.

Thomas Leuluai, Bevan French and Jackson Hastings all dotted down in the second half to seal a comeback victory for the visitors at the Totally Wicked Stadium on Friday.

A converted try by Lachlan Coote on the half-hour mark turned out to be the only points scored by Saints, who were unable to strike again despite a late yellow card for Wigan's Joe Greenwood.

Jake Bibby scored the other try for Wigan, who have won 12 of their 16 league games and now sit top of the standings, level on 24 points with Saints but with a better win percentage.

Warrington Wolves are third after they saw off Huddersfield Giants in a 19-12 home win.

Daryl Clark scored two tries for Warrington, who will need to check on injuries to Josh Charnley and Jason Clark after both players were forced out of the contest.

 

St Helens prop James Graham has confirmed he will finish his illustrious career at the end of the Super League season.

Graham announced last month that his international playing days were over, having featured 53 times for England and Great Britain.

The 35-year-old has now decided that his club career will come to a halt, and he will be looking to sign off by winning the Super League title.

Graham, who signed a one-year deal with Saints in June, has made 234 appearances for his boyhood club Saints either side of a successful eight-year spell in the NRL and has scored 70 tries in 474 matches in total at club and international level.

He told Saints' official website: "Playing for St Helens and over in the NRL has been an absolute honour. I am gutted this season will be my final one as a player, but I came to Saints saying I would have one last all in push for this season and nothing has changed there.

"Finishing my career at my boyhood club was an opportunity that I couldn't resist. Unfortunately, I am gutted we have not been able to play in front of our fans as I know they feel every pass, every tackle and every run.

"I have even missed the opposition fans who would give me a piece of their mind.

"I have had so many fantastic memories throughout my career here at Saints, in the NRL and on the International stage representing my country. It has all been a huge honour."

Graham won a Grand Final ring, claimed three Challenge Cup winners' medals and was named Man of Steel during his first stint with Saints and also landed the Dally M Prop of the Year award while playing for Canterbury Bulldogs.

He was the only Brit in the World team XIII and was named best prop in the world in 2008 and could sign off with another Grand Final triumph, with Saints top of the table.

Krisnan Inu and Rhyse Martin both scored late tries as Salford Red Devils and Leeds Rhinos earned victories over St Helens and Castleford Tigers respectively in Monday's Super League games.

In a repeat of last season's Grand Final, Saints fielded an inexperienced side, naming five debutants with one eye on their forthcoming derby with Wigan, but the gamble backfired as they suffered a 12-10 defeat.

A try from Josh Eaves and three successful kicks from Lewis Dodd had given Saints a 10-0 lead as the leaders went in search of an 11th victory on the spin.

But Salford roared back with a try from Pauli Pauli before Inu muscled his way over the line before converting his own try to secure the win.

Martin's converted try ensured Leeds clinched a 28-24 Yorkshire derby win despite a late Castleford fightback with Oliver Holmes shown a red card for the Tigers.

Tries from Ava Seumanufagai, Luke Gale, Liam Sutcliffe and Tom Briscoe proved decisive for Leeds, as a late penalty score for Castleford was supplemented by two tries from Greg Eden plus one from Liam Watts.

Leeds – who are chasing a play-off spot – sit fifth in the standings, with two games against Wakefield Trinity to come this week.

Josh Simm and Bevan French scored hat-tricks for St Helens and Wigan Warriors in respective hammerings of Leeds Rhinos and Salford Red Devils in Super League on Friday. 

Leeds defeated Salford to win the Challenge Cup last weekend but only four of that side were involved as the Rhinos were outclassed 40-8 by a Saints side who are closing on a third straight League Leaders' Shield.  

All of Simm's tries came in the first half with Zeb Taia also dotting down as Saints went into the break 22-0 ahead. 

Leeds showed some improvement after the restart with Cameron Smith crossing, but Theo Fages, Kevin Naiqama and Aaron Smith all scored for Saints before Liam Tindall's late try added a shred more respectability for the Rhinos.  

Wigan are second in the table and routed Salford 58-12 with Sam Powell and French going over twice and Liam Farrell scoring a try in a dominant first half in which Kallum Watkins replied for Salford. 

Jackson Hastings, Oliver Gildart and Farrell all scored for the Warriors after Tui Lolohea had cut Wigan's lead, before French completed his hat-trick and Gildart had a second in a comprehensive triumph. 

Champions St Helens stretched their winning run to nine Super League matches with a 48-6 thrashing of strugglers Wakefield Trinity on Thursday.

The chasm between the division's top and bottom sides was evident as Tommy Makinson ran in a first-half hat-trick.

There were also two tries before the break for James Roby and a single score from Alex Walmsley to open up a 30-0 advantage.

Innes Senior belatedly offered a Wakefield response after Regan Grace extended that lead early in the second period.

Tries from Lewis Dodd and Kevin Naiqama completed the scoring for Saints, though, comfortable winners in the only match of the evening as coronavirus cases in the Wigan Warriors camp led to the clash with Catalans Dragons being called off.

Liam Farrell's late try secured an 18-14 victory for Wigan Warriors over Warrington Wolves, while St Helens continued to roll in Super League on Friday.

The Wolves led by six points at the break, with a penalty try and Chris Hill's score answered by Joe Greenwood for Wigan.

Zak Hardaker converted his own try to level the scores but a Stefan Ratchford penalty had Warrington just ahead going into the final stages.

But, just when it looked as though Warrington's brave defensive effort would yield its reward, Farrell took Harry Smith's offload to go over with four minutes left and Hardaker added the extras for second-placed Wigan to keep the Wolves fifth.

Leaders St Helens were made to work hard for an eighth straight Super League win, coming from behind to defeat Wakefield Trinity 20-16 in the first of the double header at Headingley.

Alex Walker and Craig Kopczak tries had Wakefield flying but their advantaged was reduced to 12-10 by the break, as Louie McCarthy-Scarsbrook and Lachlan Coote responded.

Regan Grace crossed and Coote had a second before Matty Ashurst scored a consolation late on for struggling Wakefield.

Catalans Dragons remain in the play-off race after outclassing Hull KR 34-4.

Joel Tomkins and Tom Davies scored twice tries apiece, while Ben Garcia and Israel Folau also touched down to send the Dragons above Leeds Rhinos into third spot.

James Graham will not feature in England's 2021 Rugby League World Cup campaign after confirming his international retirement.

The St Helens forward, who returned to the club this season after spells with Canterbury Bulldogs and St George Illawarra Dragons in NRL, started in the front row in the final of the 2017 tournament, which England lost 6-0 to Australia.

Graham won a combined 53 caps for England and Great Britain and was captain for the former's Test series win over New Zealand in 2018.

"Playing for England and GB, and representing all the people that have been a part of your career, is just simply an honour," said Graham.

"I know it sounds cheesy but every time I've sung the anthem, I've looked to the sky and thought about those people. It saddens me that I won't get to have that feeling as a player again.

"I will always be a passionate supporter of England Rugby League – and I'll be cheering on Shaun Wane and the lads at the World Cup next year."

Hosts England are scheduled to kick off the 2021 World Cup with a game against Samoa at St James' Park in Newcastle on October 23.

Leeds Rhinos came from behind to snatch a 13-12 victory over Huddersfield Giants in Super League, despite standing down seven players due to coronavirus concerns.

Rhinos confirmed shortly before kick-off on Thursday that – due to one of their players awaiting the results of a test – a further six members of their squad would not feature as a result of the track-and-trace protocols Super League is following.

However, the Rhinos still came up with a hard-earned win at the Totally Wicked Stadium, with Luke Gale's drop-goal sealing a memorable victory.

Leeds already claimed a golden-point triumph over Huddersfield in their first game back following Super League's restart, and this time they had to come from 10 points down at the break.

Konrad Hurrell and Tom Briscoe got the tries for Leeds, with Gale splitting the sticks with six minutes left.

A drop-goal also proved decisive in Thursday's other clash, with St Helens edging out Hull Kingston Rovers 21-20 on the golden point rule to return to the top of the standings.

Theo Fages was the match-winning hero for Saints on their home turf, with an Ethan Ryan try and a penalty from Will Dagger having forced additional time.

St Helens claimed an emphatic nine-try victory as they crushed Huddersfield Giants 54-6 to go top of Super League, while Warrington Wolves continued their good form in testing circumstances by beating Hull 37-12.

Defending champions Saints were well on course for victory by half-time, as tries from Lachlan Coote, Aaron Smith and Regan Grace helped them to a 20-0 lead at the interval.

Grace and Coote doubled their individual tallies in the second period, while Louie McCarthy-Scarsbrook, Matty Costello, Dominic Peyroux and Alex Walmsley got in on the act.

The dominant win moved Saints on to 14 points, edging ahead of Warrington on points difference, who made light work of Hull in Friday's other clash.

Without a host of regulars due to either testing positive for coronavirus or having close contact with a Wakefield Trinity player who has contracted the illness, Warrington – also shorn of Gareth Widdop due to personal reasons – nevertheless cruised to victory at Headingley.

Wolves are now up to second thanks to what was a sixth win on the bounce, leaving them level on points with Saints with a game in hand.

Hull FC made a storming return to action for the first time since a coronavirus outbreak at the club, running in five first-half tries in a 31-12 Super League win over Huddersfield Giants.

The home game against Castleford had to be postponed a fortnight ago, and a Challenge Cup clash against the same opposition could not go ahead last weekend, with nine players and three staff from the Hull ranks having tested positive for COVID-19.

Black and Whites coach Andy Last forecast a "challenging" tussle with Huddersfield, but his squad, not yet back up to full strength, produced a sterling display to overwhelm Simon Woolford's men.

Tries from Albert Kelly, Marc Sneyd, Josh Griffin, Jack Brown and Mahe Fonua put Hull firmly in control, with Ashton Golding and Jordan Turner earning a shred of respectability for Huddersfield.

Leaders Wigan's four-point cushion was trimmed to two by last year's champions St Helens, whose 32-18 victory over Hull KR included two tries for Jack Welsby.

Lowly Rovers pegged back fast-starting Saints to make it 12-12 at half-time, with Adam Quinland and Ethan Ryan replying to scores from Alex Walmsley and Welsby.

However, second-placed Saints pulled away in the second half, with Kevin Naiqama, Aaron Smith and Welsby dotting down before Matt Parcell ran through for a Rovers consolation.

Rovers remain at the foot of the 11-team league, with just one win from eight games.

Warrington's Halliwell Jones Stadium was used to stage all three of Sunday's Super League games.

In the final leg of the triple-header, the Wolves turned on the style as they joined Saints on 12 points thanks to a 36-0 win over Wakefield that featured a hat-trick from former Canberra Raiders star Blake Austin.

Ben Currie, Josh Charnley and Toby King also ran in tries for Wire, who now sit third in the table, with Stefan Ratchford adding the extras each time.

Wigan Warriors fought hard to see off Leeds Rhinos after St Helens had held Castleford Tigers scoreless in Super League.

Totally Wicked Stadium staged both top-flight contests on Sunday, with Saints briefly taking over at the top of the table thanks to a 10-0 triumph at their home ground. 

However, Wigan moved above their rivals to sit two points clear at the summit as they won 28-10 against Leeds, who have now lost two on the spin after going down 48-0 to St Helens last time out. 

The Rhinos did put in a much-improved display, however, and were right in the contest until the closing minutes, trailing just 16-10 after Liam Sutcliffe charged through a gap to reach the line. 

Luke Gale set up the try but was sin-binned soon after, allowing the Warriors to ease clear against 12 men. Bevan French crossed twice in the game, while Liam Farrell registered his 100th try for Wigan. 

Reigning champions Saints had earlier shut out Castleford, Theo Fages going over for the only try in the closing minutes following a break from James Roby in his 500th career appearance. 

The rest of St Helens' points came from the boot of Lachlan Coote, who kicked three goals after the break following a scoreless first half. 

Regan Grace scored one of the greatest hat-tricks in Super League history as defending champions St Helens gave Leeds Rhinos' title credentials a brutal examination, leaving Wigan Warriors top.

Leeds led the primitive 2020 table heading into Sunday's play but had been usurped at the summit by the time they took on Saints in the late match thanks to a Wigan win.

The Rhinos failed spectacularly to respond to that result as they were crushed 48-0, failing to score at home for the first time in a Super League fixture.

It was one-way traffic from the outset as James Graham, Alex Walmsley and Tommy Makinson all crossed, before Grace stole the show.

The winger - previously without a try this season - displayed a scintillating turn of speed to race 90 metres upfield, dancing past the final two blue and amber shirts for a remarkable score.

Grace was far from done, too, and dived over in the corner to put the result beyond any doubt, then added the best of the lot, this time dashing 100 metres to complete his treble.

There was still time for Theo Fages and Lachlan Coote to add to the scoring as Saints moved level on points with their outclassed opponents, who never threatened to repeat last week's incredible comeback against Huddersfield Giants.

Wigan have top spot but their victory over Wakefield Trinity was nowhere near as straightforward, withstanding a late fightback in a 23-22 success.

Zak Hardaker opened the scoring for Wigan in his 200th Super League appearance, yet Liam Kay's late double set up a nervy finish.

In the first game of the day, Salford Red Devils took apart Hull FC 54-18.

Leeds Rhinos claimed an astonishing 27-26 golden-point victory over Huddersfield Giants as Super League resumed in spectacular fashion at Headingley on Sunday. 

The Rhinos were comprehensively outplayed for the majority of the contest, with Darnell McIntosh running in a hat-trick. 

When Louis Senior touched down for his second of the contest, Huddersfield led 26-6 with a man advantage – Ash Handley having been sent to the sin bin for dissent. 

Luke Gale, who would ultimately prove the matchwinner, started the charge with a 68th-minute try – the first of four in a rampaging 10-minute spell. 

Luke Briscoe then went over in the corner to crown a fabulous team move and Alex Mellor collected a Gale pass to score against his former club. 

Konrad Hurrell's second try of the game gave Rhyse Martin a conversion to send the match into golden-point extra time, where Gale slotted over a drop goal to settle matters and spark wild celebrations. 

In Sunday's earlier game in Leeds, St Helens steamrollered Catalans Dragons 34, with Lachlan Coote going over for a try in each half as part of an 18-point haul.

Before kick-off, Catalans' Israel Folau once again made himself a figure of controversy by being the only player not to take a knee in support of Black Lives Matter.

Folau returned to rugby league in January after Rugby Australia sacked him for homophobic posts on his social media accounts.

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