Kevin Naiqama was "overcome with emotion" after his two tries led St Helens to a 12-10 win over Catalans Dragons at Old Trafford, their third straight Super League Grand Final success.

Saints' 2020 triumph had come in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic in front of empty stands, but they had their fans back to celebrate the three-peat.

It was a far less dramatic victory than that last-gasp defeat of Wigan Warriors, however, even if the game swung back and forth, bookended by Naiqama's tries.

His first effort came as he fought through two challenges on the try line to touch the ball down.

But Catalans were just two points behind at the break and made the most of Tommy Makinson's yellow card – the first in Grand Final history – as Mike McMeeken grounded the ball after Josh Drinkwater's kick hung in the air and eventually dropped his way.

A more precise kick at the other end provided the final twist, though, with Jonny Lomax's no-look effort bobbling into the arms of Naiqama. Lachlan Coote made no mistake with the decisive extras.

Catalans had clinched their Leaders' Shield against Saints in astonishing fashion last month, trailing by 18 points with four minutes to play at Magic Weekend and winning.

Yet there was no repeat of those St James' Park heroics, as Dragons failed to mount another attack in the closing minutes.

"I'm overcome with emotion," Naiqama told Sky Sports. "I love this team and I love this town."

Former Australia international Israel Folau has switched codes again to join Japanese Top League side NTT Communications.

Folau was released from the remainder of his contract with Catalans Dragons in June so he could remain in Australia due to a personal family situation.

The 32-year-old joined the Super League club last year and had signed a new deal to continue in France for the 2021 season.

Folau was registered to play for the Southport Tigers in the Rugby League Gold Coast competition last week following his release by Catalans.

Catalans chairman Bernard Guasch said: "Israel has been great with us in 2020 both on and off the field and we wanted to facilitate the negotiations to reach an agreement.

"He told us his desire to play alongside his two brothers [for the Tigers] and we didn't want to prevent him. We wish him all the best in the next chapter of his career."

Folau is on the move again, however, after NTT Communications confirmed his return to rugby union on Monday.

He will play under Rob Penney, who has been appointed as director of rugby after being sacked by the Waratahs in March.

Rugby Australia terminated Folau's contract in 2019 for a "high-level breach" after he posted hell awaits "drunks, homosexuals, adulterers, liars, fornicators, thieves, atheists and idolaters" on Instagram.

Israel Folau is no longer wanted by St George Illawarra Dragons after the NRL club confirmed it had ceased discussions to sign the former Australia international.

Folau, whose Rugby Australia contract was terminated in 2019 for a "high-level breach" after the 31-year-old posted hell awaits "drunks, homosexuals, adulterers, liars, fornicators, thieves, atheists and idolaters" on Instagram, plies his trade with Super League outfit Catalans Dragons.

But St George Illawarra had been looking to lure him back to his home country, with the club having approached the NRL over the matter.

However, a brief statement released by the club on Wednesday revealed the chase was now at an end.

"While the Dragons did enquire about signing Folau, the club can confirm that such discussions have now ceased," it read.

Folau's move to Catalans in January last year prompted widespread criticism, with head coach Steve McNamara confessing: "We knew it would be controversial."

 

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