Following wins over St Helens and Hull FC, the grand final is Warrington vs Wigan. It promises to be a classic and here are three key match ups that may decide the match.
Daryl Clark vs Sam Powell
As Saints showed last week, you can’t let Daryl Clark get on the front foot and play the ball quickly as he will punish you and punch holes in the defence. He has 195 runs from dummy half and he is joint top at Warrington for clean breaks on par with Kevin Penny. Alternatively, Warriors counterpart Sam Powell started the season expecting to be back up to first choice hooker Michael Mcilorum but with him out for season he has had to step up and be the main dummy half for Shaun Wanes side. He may not have as much attacking potency as Clark but he is 2nd in the league for tackles just behind man of steel Danny Houghton. Powell scored a vital try in last weeks semi and will hope to continue his good form at the Theatre of dreams. Very different type of players but both coaches are reliant on these two.
Kurt Gidley vs George Williams
Both stand offs have been outstanding for their clubs this season. Kurt Gidley brings a wealth of NRL experience to the Warrington side and his game management has been vital this year for Tony Smith’s side. He has 16 try assists and has 93 kicks and if Chris Sandow isn’t available for the grand final then he will have to take control of the team with youngster Dec Patton partnering him at scrum half. Last years young player of the year George Williams is the strike player at the moment for Wigan. He is an expert at making something out of nothing and his try against Hull in the super eights was a great example of his talent. He has 18 try assists (the most in the team) and has definitely put himself into contention for an England jersey for the four nations.
Ryan Atkins vs Antony Gelling
These two could be game changers at Old Trafford. They are both big physical centres and cause problems to the oppositions defence. Ryan Atkins, who won July’s super league player of the month, has improved throughout the season and has become a handful to contain. He has 17 tries (the most out of any centre in the league) but has committed 34 errors which is the most out of Warrington’s players.
Meanwhile, Antony Gelling has struck up a lethal partnership with union bound winger Josh Charnley. He has a great offload (47 this season) and very rarely let’s down his side defensively. He has 14 clean breaks but similar to Atkins has made a high amount of errors.
Saturday’s grand final promises to be the best for years. It is 1st vs 2nd and it should be a great game.