“Saints fan here. Feel ill with nerves. That is all.” says Barry Rowlings.
Ah, the familiar staccato chatter of a bloke trembling with apprehension.
Reflections on the careers of James Graham and Sean O’Loughlin are everywhere in the run up to this game. Some could say it’s a bit overdone, but they are wrong.
The Saints and Wigan forwards are two of the greatest rugby players and athletes the game in this country has produced; skilful, powerful, natural leaders, endurance like a Toyota Hilux and just a tough. We were lucky to have them.
Absolute Legends Department
“Body-wise I’ve been aching for about five years and, mentally, now feels like the right time to do it and end on a high”
French, Bibby, Hardaker, Gildart, Burgess, Leuluai, Hastings, Partington, Isa, Farrell, Singleton, Powell, Bullock
Clubb, Greenwood, O’Loughlin, Smithies St Helens
Coote; Makinson, Naiqama, Welsby, Grace; Fages, Lomax; Graham, Roby, Walmsley; Bentley, Taia; Knowles
Peyroux, McCarthy-Scarsbrook, Lees, Amor
Welcome to the Super League Grand Final from KCom Stadium.
Wigan vs Saints, Steve Hampson vs Phil Veivers, Andy Farrell vs Chris Joynt, Poole’s vs Pimbletts. It may be a new location for the Grand Final, but the old rivalries will be very much the same as the two near neighbours reignite their near-pathological dislike for each other on the biggest domestic stage.
Wigan have been in decent nick after receiving a physical and metaphorical slap-down at the hands of Leeds in the Challenge Cup semi a few weeks ago and they will look to this form to rip the title from St Helens’ grasp.
Saints themselves had a canter to final after piling the points on an admittedly shambolic performance from Catalan Dragons in last week’s semi-final. Was that too easy a path, or the perfect way to conserve their energy for when it really matters? We’ll find out in the next couple of hours or so.