The 2018 Super League champions will be crowned this weekend and either Wigan Warriors or Warrington Wolves will be in celebratory mode. The final of this year’s edition of the renowned rugby league club competition kick offs at 18.00 on Saturday at Old Trafford, Manchester. Today, we take a closer look at the finalists and how they’ve fared in the competition so far.
Wigan Warriors – Will Shaun Wane’s Team Bid Him Farewell in Style
Having been Super League champions on four occasions and triumphed in its previous incarnation, the Rugby Football League Football Championship First Division, seventeen times, the Warriors are used to putting in title-winning performances. Not only do they know exactly what’s needed if they want to win the famous rugby trophy, they’ll also want revenge on Warrington for defeating them in the quarter finals of this year’s Challenge Cup.
Head coach, Shaun Wane, will be leaving the club after the match, as will three key players (John Bateman, Ryan Sutton and Sam Tomkins) and two members of backroom staff, so the squad will be motivated to finish their title campaign on a high for them. What’s more, they’ve already shown their mettle on their way to Old Trafford. The Warriors finished second in both the Super League and Super 8s tables. They then defeated Castleford by 14-0 to secure their place in the Grand Final. Wigan fans will certainly be hoping that Sam Tomkins will be in the same sort of form on Saturday as he was in their semi-final tie: he scored ten of their fourteen points.
Shaun Wane’s men can also get a confidence boost by looking at the results of their four previous Super League matches against Warrington. Although the Wire beat them by 16-10 on the first occasion, the Warriors won the others by 38-10, 13-12 and 26-6.
Warrington Wolves – Can They Break Their Title Final Curse?
The Wolves are certainly the underdogs going into Saturday’s match, but could they prove their bark isn’t worse than their bite? They’ve gained a reputation for falling at the final hurdle when it comes to major title wins, so they’ll be desperate to change that this weekend.
The players will need to forget the fact that they’ve lost three Super League Grand Finals in the last six years. They’ll also need to ignore the pain from fresher wounds – and not just those inflicted by the Warriors on three occasions during this year’s competition. In August, the Catalans Dragons put pay to the Wire’s hopes of winning their first domestic championship for 63 years when they beat them by 20-14 in the Challenge Cup final.
However, Warrington can take heart from the fact they’ve already demonstrated they can beat the odds in the Super League play-offs. League leaders St Helens seemed to be firmly on track to win the coveted trophy this year until they met the Wire in a captivating semi-final clash. Thanks to two tries from Tom Lineham, a try from Jack Hughes and a trio of drop-goals from Dan Richardson, Warrington dispatched the Saints by 18-13.
Beating Wigan won’t be easy but the Wire have proved they’re capable of taking down potential title winners, so maybe this could finally be their year.
Which team do you think has what it takes to win the 2018 Super League trophy? Show your support for Wigan Warriors or Warrington Wolves in the comments section, or share your thoughts with us on Facebook or on Twitter.