Super League: How previous first-time finalists have fared as Catalans Dragons aim to join elite group

The Dragons are looking to join Leeds, St Helens, Wigan and Bradford as Grand Final winners

Ian Laybourn
Thursday 07 October 2021 10:00
Catalans Dragons are looking to win their maiden Grand Final (Richard Sellers/PA)
Catalans Dragons are looking to win their maiden Grand Final (Richard Sellers/PA)

Catalans Dragons head for Old Trafford looking to break the mould as they seek to become only the fifth club to win the Super League Grand Final since its introduction in 1998.

Wigan and St Helens are the only first-time winners while Leeds and Bradford have also tasted victory at Old Trafford.

The Dragons, who face St Helens on Saturday, will be the ninth different Grand Finalists and here the PA news agency looks at the other clubs who have come closest to joining the big four.


Hull FC coach Peter Sharp took Hull to the Grand Final in his first season (PA Images/Gareth Copley)

The Black and Whites enjoyed a remarkable upturn in fortunes when Australian Peter Sharp took over from John Kear just over two months into the 2006 season. They went on a 13-match winning run which earned them a second-place finish behind St Helens. They maintained the resurgence with a semi-final win over Bradford but the final at Old Trafford proved to be a game too far as Saints showed their class with a 26-4 victory.


Warrington were led out at Old Trafford in 2018 by head coach Steve Price (PA Images/Martin Rickett)

Tony Smith guided the Wolves to a maiden Grand Final in 2012, his fourth season with the club, but they went down to a 26-18 at the hands of his old club Leeds. They were back at Old Trafford 12 months later and this time lost 30-16 to Wigan. Under Smith, Warrington also lost in the 2016 final, by 12-6 to Wigan, and they suffered the same under his successor, Steve Price, when they were beaten 12-4 by Wigan in 2018.


Daryl Powell’s men lifted the League Leaders’ Shield in 2017 after their best-ever season in Super League and were highly fancied to add a maiden title but their Grand Final preparations were hit by the withdrawal of full-back Zak Hardaker for what were specified at the time as a “breach of club rules”. That turned out to be a failed drugs test and, in his absence, the Tigers crashed to a 24-6 at the hands of Leeds, who were able to send half-backs Rob Burrow and Danny McGuire out on a high.

Salford (2019)

Twelve months after winning the Million Pound Game with a golden point drop goal to avoid relegation, the Red Devils’ transformation under Ian Watson was complete when he guided them to a third-place finish in the 2019 regular season. They lost their opening play-off at Wigan but earned a re-match after knocking out Castleford a week later and got their revenge with a 28-4 victory in the final eliminator at the DW Stadium. Salford went to Old Trafford with high hopes of a maiden Super League title but St Helens were far too good, triumphing 23-6.

Register for free to continue reading

Registration is a free and easy way to support our truly independent journalism

By registering, you will also enjoy limited access to Premium articles, exclusive newsletters, commenting, and virtual events with our leading journalists

Already have an account? sign in

By clicking ‘Register’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Thank you for registering

Please refresh the page or navigate to another page on the site to be automatically logged inPlease refresh your browser to be logged in