Saints legend Paul Sculthorpe previews the champions’ Betfred Super League match against Hull KR at the Totally Wicked Stadium on Friday 18 August (20:00).
Take a bow, Tommy Makinson.
The former Golden Boot winner was on top form on Sunday, scoring a first-half hat-trick as Saints downed the Huddersfield Giants at the Totally Wicked Stadium.
That made it a career 200 tries for the 31-year-old – and his Man of the Match performance sent Paul Wellens’ side to third in the Betfred Super League table.
We are now equal on points with second-placed Wigan and just in front of the newly-crowned Betfred Challenge Cup heroes Leigh on points difference, with all three teams on 28 points – just four behind table toppers Catalans Dragons.
As we approach the business end of the season, title sponsors Betfred have Saints 2/1 favourites to win the Grand Final for a fifth year running – the same price as the Dragons.
The Warriors are available at 7/2 ahead of the Leopards at 7/1 – while Warrington have drifted out to 20/1.
Back to man of the moment Tommy Makinson. Anyone who knows me knows that I’m a massive fan of his. Not just his ability to score tries in tight spaces, but everything he gives for the team.
For me, he’s the best ball carrier in Betfred Super League and his ability to find space and attack on the front foot is outstanding.
He is an out-and-out competitor and it’s no surprise to me that he’s been the best winger in the competition for the last 10 years.
This week, Saints will hope to carry the momentum from that 32-18 win over the Giants into another home fixture against Hull KR on Friday.
The Rovers, who were runners-up at Wembley on Saturday, certainly played their part in an exciting Betfred Challenge Cup final, coming up with a late try to take the game into Golden Point territory.
But after a criminal error by half-back Brad Schneider, Leigh were gifted possession and field position to kick the winning drop goal – and who else but coach Adrian’s son Lachlan Lam to come up with the winner?!
You have to credit Leigh, especially chairman Derek Beaumont, for completely re-imagining and re-juvenating the club both on and off the pitch. They have certainly captured the imagination of a lot of people this week, both inside and out of the RL family.
Closer to home, what a performance from Saints Women who became the first women’s RL team to win the Challenge Cup at Wembley.
It was such a memorable day for the club – and massive congratulations to coach Matty Smith, captain Jodie Cunningham and all the girls on an outstanding win over the Leeds Rhinos.
The team got to parade the trophy at the men’s game against Huddersfield and rightly received a rousing applause. It’s great to see the women’s game going from strength to strength and these current stars inspiring young girls to pick up a rugby ball.
Back to Friday, when I’m reckoning Saints will continue their climb up the table with a win by 15 points or more over the side from East Hull.