Peter Thomas takes a look at Saturday’s Grand Final.
There’s only 80 minutes of rugby league left in the season, but for most teams they’ll simply be watching. Only two teams remain to fight out the Grand Final at Old Trafford. Wigan who finished second and defeated Castleford in their semi-final will face Warrington who came fourth and who overcame perhaps the favourites St Helens in their own epic semi.
Wigan won last week at a canter, conceding no points and looking ominously good. The Wire had what looked like a tougher game but managed to overhaul the Saints. What’s true of both however is that last week is done and they are the only two teams left who can lift the big prize.
Warrington have had a good year, the regular season was strong overall and save for a dream performance by Catalans at Wembley they’d have already lifted a trophy. But they lost and the prospect remains that they will once again have come close, but not close enough. Is a loss a disaster? Of course not, but another trip to the hig show and coming up short will do nothing to get that monkey off their back. It’s time they seized the opportunity and truly made 2018 their year.
Wigan know what it takes to lift the trophy and moreover how to grind out tough wins. With Wane and a few key players leaving at the end of the season, they have their own fairy tales to write.
For me such games turn on moments, whether they be of individual magic or unfortunate mistakes. It is likely to once again be a close encounter and though both sides have had wins against each other over the season, this match is something else. It is standalone and history is irrelevant.
The breaks and luck will have to be factored in but both teams have the have the quality on the pitch to win it. I’m obviously hoping to end the years of hurt, but won’t tempt gate fate by predicting a score. By Sunday many will be hoarse, but for some of those they will not care one bit.
Good luck to both teams but come on the Wire!