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Saturday, October 19, 2019
Home Sports Super League Grand Final: St Helens v Salford – radio & text

Super League Grand Final: St Helens v Salford – radio & text

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Live Reporting

By Steve Marshall

All times stated are UK

  1. Post update

    St Helens 0-0 Salford

    Time and again Saints drive for the line. Luke Thompson is held up short before Theo Fages runs into traffic on the last tackle.

    Danger averted by Salford for now.

  2. Post update

    St Helens 0-0 Salford

    Salford turn the ball over straight away. St Helens get possession on the Red Devils’ own 20m line.

    The under dogs have some defending to do.

  3. Kick-off

    St Helens 0-0 Salford

    All the pre-match pleasantries are done and dusted.

    Referee Chris Kendall blows his whistle and St Helens’ Lachlan Coote get us under way.

    Salford will have the ball first.

  4. ‘Never heard a noise like it’

    St Helens v Salford (18:00 BST)

    Phil Cartwright

    BBC Sport at Old Trafford

    Teams out

    Copyright: BBC

    This is the fifth Super League Grand Final I’ve been fortunate enough to cover and I’ve never heard a noise like the one that greeted the two teams. It’s loud in here.

  5. The teams are out

    St Helens v Salford (18:00 BST)

    Now it’s time for the teams to walk out of the tunnel as fireworks go off around the ground and the supporters’ flags fly.

    St Helens are in their 11th Grand Final and aiming for their sixth victory at Old Trafford. For Salford, it’s their first taste of the showpiece.

  6. Post update

    St Helens v Salford (18:00 BST)

    Before the two sides take the field the ‘Britpop’ of Shed Seven is replaced by something a little more traditional as soprano Laura Wright leads the singing of ‘Jerusalem’.

    As she does so, the Super League trophy is walked on to the pitch by members of the armed forces.

  7. Post update

    St Helens v Salford (18:00 BST)

    Shed Seven

    Copyright: Rex Features

    Shed Seven close their set with ‘Chasing Rainbows’ and the fireworks go off around the edge of the Old Trafford pitch.

    Kick-off isn’t far away now.

  8. One last dig for the Red Devils

    St Helens v Salford (18:00 BST)

    Matt Newsum

    BBC Radio 5 Live at Old Trafford

    Jackson Hastings

    Copyright: Rex Features

    Naturally, you cannot discuss Salford’s threats without mentioning Jackson Hastings, who has lit up the Super League this year to win Man of Steel.

    So what is it that makes him so good? Well, unlike Ben Barba last year at St Helens, this is not just a player who just makes himself look awesome. Barba was classy, but so much of his best work was in solo, individualistic moments of magic.

    Hastings is a true team-player. Yes, he’ll duck and weave and test out defences with a step if the option is on, but if he spots a player in a better position, he’ll put them away.

    The best way of highlighting his value is to look at players around him. Niall Evalds has scored 27 tries, many from the Australian half’s initial breaks; Josh Jones has developed a terrific inside-ball link-up with Hastings which is a go-to Salford play and in Joey Lussick, his old pal at both Sydney Roosters and Manly, there’s a near-telepathic understanding.

    This is his last game in a Salford shirt, as it is for a number of players. One last performance for the band before it breaks up… it all feels a bit like The Jam at Brighton back in 1982…

  9. Saints forwards will bring fire

    St Helens v Salford (18:00 BST)

    Matt Newsum

    BBC Radio 5 Live at Old Trafford

    Luke Thompson v Wigan

    Copyright: PA Media

    St Helens have awesome firepower out the back, with Lachlan Coote, Tommy Makinson and Regan Grace to name but three, but their attacking menace is only brought to the fore by the rampaging platform set by the forwards.

    Two of them, Alex Walmsley and Luke Thompson, are as destructive a combination as there is in world rugby league.

    Walmsley, as Brian Noble once put it, is like a Transformer robot, stomping his way through the middle and scattering defenders. All huge arms and treetrunk thighs.

    His fellow front-rower Thompson hits hard lines at pace with relentless frequency and in huge stints to punch holes in defences, and dips his shoulder just as savagely in defence.

    Any side that thinks they’ve contained these two then has to cope with the rest of the threats. Good luck…

  10. Choice of listening

    St Helens v Salford (18:00 BST)

    A public service reminder that as well as following our live text commentary of this evening’s game, we also have a choice of listening available to you.

    Matt Newsum is your commentator on BBC Radio 5 Live and is joined by former Great Britain star Iestyn Harris and England World Cup finalist Kevin Brown.

    But if you want something a little more partizan then tune in to either BBC Radio Merseyside or BBC Radio Manchester.

    Simply scroll through the options at the top of the page and click on the commentary of your choice.

  11. Predictions?

    St Helens v Salford (18:00 BST)

    So, it looks like the celebs have had their say but who do you think will win the Grand Final?

    Let us know using #bbcrl

  12. ‘St Helens have got brilliance all over the field’

    St Helens v Salford (18:00 BST)

    Iestyn Harris

    Former Great Britain and Wales international on BBC Radio 5 Live

    St Helens are a brilliant side, they have got it all over the field and when they shift the ball from left to right or right to left you don’t know which players are in which position and I think that makes them really unpredictable.

  13. Head-to-head

    St Helens v Salford (18:00 BST)

    St Helens beat Salford

    Copyright: Rex Features

    St Helens and Salford have already met twice this season – with the Red Vee running out winners on both occasions.

    After easing to a 26-4 away win at the AJ Bell Stadium back in February, Saints then edged a humdinger of a game 32-30 when they met at the Totally Wicked Stadium in May.

    Their paths haven’t crossed since until now and Salford have run into some serious form since then.

  14. Wigan downed twice on road to Old Trafford

    St Helens v Salford (18:00 BST)

    St Helens beat Wigan

    Copyright: PA Media

    If there’s a quirk about this Grand Final it’s that both sides beat Wigan to reach Old Trafford.

    The way the play-offs worked this year meant that securing a top-three finish earned each of those sides a second chance if they lost their first play-off game.

    Salford were beaten by Wigan in week one of the play-offs to earn Warriors a clash with St Helens, while the Red Devils had a second chance in a knock-out game against Castleford.

    Saints thrashed Wigan 40-10 to book their place at Old Trafford a fortnight ago, while Salford impressively beat Cas to earn a second crack at the Warriors.

    And they made the most of it too, running out 28-4 winners at the DW Stadium to reach the Grand Final for the first time.

    Salford beat Wigan

    Copyright: PA Media

  15. Who will be going for gold?

    St Helens v Salford (18:00 BST)

    Phil Cartwright

    BBC Sport at Old Trafford

    Shed Seven are tonight’s pre-match entertainment and it’s fitting that they start up with “Going For Gold”… we’re about two hours away from finding out who will be this season’s gold standard in Super League.

  16. Can ‘Man of Steel’ Hastings inspire Salford?

    St Helens v Salford (18:00 BST)

    Jackson Hastings

    Copyright: PA Media

    It’s been a massive season in the career of Jackson Hastings, whose performances in a Salford shirt saw him named the Super League’s Man of Steel for 2019.

    But it could have been so different for the 23-year-old who, just 16 months ago, feared his career might be over after he left NRL side Manly.

    Hastings will join Wigan for next season but is hoping to end his time with the Red Devils on a high.

    “It’s David v Goliath, but you never know what will happen in that story,” he said. “Sometimes fairy tales happen and sometimes they don’t.”

  17. Kyle:Hopefully Salford do it. I think if they are to win they have to get off to a good start. If it’s close with 20 minutes to go they have every chance. They will probably wish they still had Robert Lui who destroyed the Saints defence when Saints won 32-30.

  18. A tale of two coaches

    St Helens v Salford (18:00 BST)

    Justin Holbrook

    Copyright: PA Media

    Behind these two Grand Final teams are two top coaches.

    For St Helens, Justin Holbrook takes charge of his final game before he moves back to his native Australia to become head coach of National Rugby League side Gold Coast Titans.

    “Saturday is what counts most and what we are now worried about,” he said. “If we don’t win we have to deal with it and accept it. Facts, performances and stats don’t lie.

    “If we are good enough to win, then great we will take the accolades and if we don’t we will cop whatever we have to.”

    Ian Watson

    Copyright: PA Media

    In the opposite dugout will be Ian Watson who has forged a reputation for being one of England’s brightest coaches since being elevated from Salford assistant to head coach in 2015.

    Like Holbrook, he will head Down Under after the Grand Final, but in his role as assistant coach for the Great Britain Rugby League Lions tour.

  19. ‘Salford need to contain Walmsley’

    St Helens v Salford (18:00 BST)

    Iestyn Harris

    Former Great Britain and Wales international on BBC Radio 5 Live

    If Salford can contain Alex Walmsley and if he’s not making inroads after 20-25 minutes then that’s when you know that Salford are in this because if he gets on the front foot then expect the key indicators start to play.

    Salford need to compete with the rugby league ball, they have got to make sure that they complete their sets and get into the arm wrestle of the game.

  20. ‘Final makes dark times worth while’

    St Helens v Salford (18:00 BST)

    Reaching the Grand Final has been quite an achievement for St Helens prop Alex Walmsley when you consider he missed almost the whole of last season with a broken neck.

    And the 29-year-old admitted it took him almost half of this campaign, in which he made 22 league appearances, to mentally deal with what it was like to return to action.

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