Betfred Super League Grand Final, today, 6pm

Catalans Dragons v St Helens, Old Trafford, Manchester

I must confess to feeling a few pangs of jealousy. Everyone including the office cat has chipped in with a view as to how this afternoon’s Grand Final might play out, and for what it’s worth, here’s mine.

As far as contemporary rugby league goes, I am in expert terms what Pep Guardiola is to the hair products industry, but we do at the very least go back a bit.

I was watching Grandstand as a lad, spellbound, as Don Fox missed that last-seconds conversion at Wembley that would have given his Wakefield side the Challenge Cup. A few short years later, it was Roger Milward and company, thrillingly winning the Ashes in Australia. Not many of them to the pound.

So many fantastic memories – David Watkins going to Salford, John Bevan to Warrington. One of my teachers at school, a grand fella called Alan McInnes, was another who graced The Willows.

Former Saints’ star Ray French was another teacher at a rival school, Cowley. The battles we had. Soon enough I got to see the best I’ve ever seen in the sport – Ellery Hanley. No superlative is too fancy for this gentleman in my book.

Joe Lydon was quite the sight in full cry too – and now we have the pleasure of double Man of Steel Paul Sculthorpe as a frequent pundit and contributor here at Betfred. Reckon I know where he thinks the trophy’s going later today.

So – what of the 2021 vintage, and today’s showpiece occasion? Catalans finished top of the pile in what the Americans would call the regular season, but runners-up Saints have the Grand Final pedigree.

The French side have bona fide legend Sam Tomkins in their ranks, but he’s been under an injury cloud. Fingers crossed that he plays a full part today. His side squeezed past St Helens at Magic Weekend too – can they upset the odds again?

We’ve a host of match markets for you to enjoy, but I’m going to stick my neck out for a little shock – it’s Catalans to make a bit of history for me, at around 2/1.

Whatever the outcome, let’s hope for some Millward/Hanley/Bevan-style magic to light up The Theatre of Dreams.

Alan Firkins

Whenever you bet, Betfred