Former South Sydney forward Eddy Pettybourne is hoping for some Grand Final success of his own when Wigan take on St Helens in the Super League decider on Saturday.
A Souths junior who played 91 NRL games for the Rabbitohs between 2007 and 2012, Pettybourne was ecstatic to see the Bunnies defeat the Bulldogs in the NRL Grand Final on Sunday to end their 43-year drought. Now the 26-year-old wants to help the Warriors claim Super League honours over his good friend, Saints backrower Sia Soliola.
Pettybourne, who is in his first season with Wigan, is excited about the Old Trafford encounter.
“I’m still buzzing and I can’t believe it,” he said.
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“Growing up as young kid you’re always dreaming about playing in a Grand Final and I’m just so blessed to be a part of it.”
Pettybourne said the last-minute win over Warrington on Friday was one of the hardest games he has been part of in his short time in the UK.
“It was a tough game for me personally, and they kept coming at me,” he said.
“Defending set for set against a quality team like Warrington is going to be hard. But we all dug in deep and got the win at the end.
“It was a great, tough match – probably one of the toughest matches I’ve played this year. St Helens are going to be another tough match against another quality side and it’s going to be an intense game. They are in great form and we are looking forward to playing them.”
Pettybourne has known Soliola for years and his fellow Samoan will be playing his last game for St Helens before returning to the NRL.
“I went to school with Sia, so we always catch up when we are together with Mose Masoe and the likes of Roy Asotasi, Junior Sa’u and Lama Tasi,” he said.
“We’re all pretty close. This will be Sia’s last game before he heads over to Canberra, and he’s been in top form for St Helens. He will do well when he’s back in the NRL.
“Saturday’s game will be a local derby and it’s going to be a game that everyone would want to watch.”
The New Zealand-born prop has managed 13 games for Wigan after arriving from Wests Tigers in an injury-interrupted season. Saturday’s game will be his first Grand Final at first-grade level.
“I’ve played Grand Finals as juniors back in the day,” he said.
“But this will be my first major Grand Final for a first grade team. I’ve booked mum’s fare to come over, so I’m pretty excited now.”