Super League Grand Final Preview
One team is seeking their first domestic title since 1955, the other striving for a unique league and cup double. This Saturday sees the Warrington Wolves and Wigan Warriors go head-to-head in the Super League Grand Final, for the top honour in British rugby league.
The last time these two sides clashed in a major final was back in 1990 at Wembley. This time round and Manchester’s Old Trafford, the self-titled ‘Theatre of Dreams’, will see one team crowned 2013 Super League Champions in front of over 80,000 fans. With just eighty minutes of play separating glory and and heartbreak, Lovell Rugby looks at whether the Wolves or Warriors will emerge triumphant.
On paper it was Warrington who finished higher of the two sides in the league competition, with Wigan only claiming fourth spot on the ladder. With three encounters this season, Wigan have yet to taste success and the closest came with a 17-17 draw back in February whilst their most recent match-up saw Warrington claim a 22-12 victory back in June.
So whilst the statistics point towards the men in blue and yellow ending their trophy title drought, history certainly favours the cherry and whites who are the most decorated side in the history of British rugby league. With 19 League Championships (including 2 Super League Grand Finals), 19 Challenge Cups and 3 World Club Challenge trophies to their name, Wigan have pretty much worn out the steps when it comes to collecting silverware.
Warrington will certainly be looking to make up for the disappointment of last season’s Grand Final defeat at the hands of Leeds by being better equipped to handle the big occasion. Naming no changes to the squad which defeated Huddersfield in the semi-finals, the Wolves have no injury problems to report just two days before the match. Wigan however have been boosted by the announcement that captain Sean O’Loughlin has been passed fit after suffering from an Achilles injury. Having not played since their Challenge Cup success on 24th August, his protective boot was only removed on Monday.
Several players will be making their last appearances for their respective sides and looking to sign-off with a winners medal. Wolves captain and England’s most capped player, Adrian Morley, will certainly be looking to hold the trophy aloft in his final act for the club as next season he joins hometown club Salford on a one-year deal. For Wigan, full-back Sam Tomkins plays his last match before moving to NRL side New Zealand Warriors whilst team-mate Pat Richards is also making the move Down Under by returning to Australia’s West Tigers.
A close game to call and for many a neutral fan they would like to see a changing of the guard with Warrington winning their first title in almost sixty years. But then who could deny Wigan adding further silverware to their overflowing trophy cabinet and making it 20 league titles. Come Saturday night in Manchester and just like their football counterparts, either red or blue will rule supreme.
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