Morgan Knowles hopes St Helens’ bad guys are rewarded for Grand Final treble



Cowardly St Helens forward Morgan Knowles hopes his side’s third consecutive Grand Final victory will finally earn them the recognition they deserve after claiming they were not respected and portrayed as “bad guys.” In preparation for Saturday’s centerpiece.

A 12-10 victory over first-time finalists Catalans Dragons saw them complete the league and cup double for the second time and tie Leeds’ three consecutive Grand Final wins.

It also confirmed St Helens as the most successful club of the summer era, with a ninth Super League title dating back to their inaugural success in 1996, when the award was presented under the old one-round majority voting method. .

Knowles believes his club’s previous success went largely unrecognized in the preparation for Saturday’s Old Trafford centerpiece, and says being painted as the bad guys added an added incentive.

“There was definitely motivation for us because we were being portrayed as bad guys,†he said.

“Unless you’re a Saints fan everyone wanted to see the Catalans win and probably rightly so because they were the underdogs and it would be great to see another team win it and especially a French side.

“What the Catalans have done is amazing and the expansion is really positive for the game and I’m really happy for that.

Morgan Knowles in action in the Grand Final (Martin Rickett / PA)

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“They’re probably going to make other big finals, Steve Mac (McNamara) did a great job and they’ve brought in the right kind of players.

“But, to be honest, I think we deserve more credit. We’ve been the best team for three or four years, even though we didn’t win it in 2018.

“But the consistency we’ve had – the winning percentage has been better than any other team in the Super League.

“British and British culture love to see people fail and the underdog win and I think it’s time now that we got the credit we deserve for three straight wins, the Challenge Cup and the League Leaders (Shield) along the way.

British and British culture love to see people fail and the underdogs winning and I think now is the time we got the credit we deserve

Morgan knowles

“I’m really, really proud to be part of this team and that doesn’t take anything away from the Catalans who reach the Grand Final.

“But I think we also deserve some credit. I’m really proud to be a part of this group and what we’ve been doing over the past few years has been special.

The Saints’ hero was Fijian center Kevin Naiqama, who marked his last appearance with a try in each half to win the Harry Sunderland Trophy as the man of the match.

Naiqama, who returns with his family to Australia, confirmed after the game that he was likely to retire and received the highest praise from Knowles.

Kevin Naiqama scores the first of his two tries in the Grand Final (Martin Rickett / PA)

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“It’s unreal,†he said. “He’s one of the nicest guys I know, let alone I’ve played with.

“He’s tough, he’s professional and he talks really well when he talks to the group.

“Since he arrived he has won three of three (grand final) and, for him to win the Harry Sunderland and score two tries, I couldn’t be happier for him. He is a credit to himself, his family and the club.

Under normal circumstances, St Helens would now turn to the World Club Challenge.

St Helens faced the Sydney Roosters in the last World Club Challenge in 2020 and must wait to see if the annual clash takes place in 2022 (Dave Howarth / PA)

(AP Archives)

But the Covid-19 pandemic has ended the annual clash of Super League and NRL champions in 2021 and the Saints face an anxious wait to see if a proposed duel with Penrith Panthers can take place in February. .

Knowles, 24, played against Nathan Cleary and his company when the Saints Academy toured Australia in 2013 and would love nothing better than a rematch.

“I played against Cleary and we ended up beating them,†he said.

“It would be nice to have the opportunity to play them because we had them stolen last year with Covid. Nothing can help, but it’s still unfair.



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