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Super League Grand Final LIVE on Eurosport Australia

While the NRL Grand Final is being touted as the battle of the beaches, contrasting anecdotes can be aimed at Sunday’s Super League Grand Final combatants the Wigan Warriors and Warrington Wolves.
Super League Grand Final LIVE on Eurosport Australia
by rleague.com

While the NRL Grand Final between the Manly Warringah Sea Eagles and Sydney Roosters is being touted as the battle of the beaches, contrasting anecdotes can be aimed at Sunday’s Super League Grand Final combatants the Wigan Warriors and Warrington Wolves.

Both clubs are among the league’s most storied franchises, in the past five years topping the charts with multiple pieces of silverware. Yet when the Wigan Warriors and Warrington Wolves clash LIVE on Eurosport at 4am AEDST on Sunday, it will be behind two very different formulas.

Wigan is undoubtedly the most famous club in England. Built upon the stardom of Ellery Hanley, Martin Offiah and Shaun Edwards in the late 80’s, Wigan has amassed an international popularity bordering that of the NRL’s Dragons, Rabbitohs and Bulldogs.

They encountered their troubles during the mid-2000’s languishing at the bottom of the table and facing relegation and salary cap charges, yet emerged rosy on the back of English legend Brian Noble and current South Sydney coach Michael Maguire.

The ‘cherry and whites’, as they are known, have taken a traditional approach to rebuilding the club, relying on the grassroots competitions of greater Manchester to unveil talent such as the departing Sam Tomkins and Lee Mossop - both headed for the NRL.

Their average age against Leeds Rhinos in Saturday’s semi-final was a shade over 24, including the ageless Aussie goal-kicking wonder Pat Richards - also returning to the NRL.

This fresh era of success, which has brought two Challenge Cup wins in three years plus the 2010 Super League title, has been built on an investment in youth and their coach’s ability to get the best out of their ‘Young Warriors’.

Warrington, on the other hand, has adopted the Russell Crowe-like ‘saviour’ mentality of flashing the chequebook and recruiting proven players from other clubs.

On the back of music promoter Simon Moran and Aussie mentor Tony Smith, the Wolves have emerged from the bottom of the table in mid-2009 to press for a fourth major title in four years, with a team that come Sunday morning Australian time will resemble a scene from Dad’s Army.

The Wolves, who knocked out minor premiers Huddersfield last Friday, had an average age of more than 29, with eight of their 17-man squad in their thirties.

Whatever the result, a Wigan versus Warrington Grand Final it is sure to be a blockbuster. It is more than 23 years since the two clubs clashed in a major final, and with Warrington also seeing the departure of club greats in Adrian Morley and Aussie hero Brett Hodgson, the celebrations will be very emotional.

Wigan will have the chance to become the first team since St Helens in 2006 to claim the Challenge Cup - Super League double, and could find inspiration from unlikely heroes - their in-form halves pairing of Matty Smith and Aussie pivot Blake Green.

Green, 27, in his first season at the Warriors, has never played at the venue of the Grand Final, Old Trafford, and echoed Wigan’s youthful exuberance by saying his only visit to the home of Manchester United was in the form of a guided tour.

"I've been there on a stadium tour, (but I’ve) never seen a football match there except on telly, so it's all new to me," Green told the BBC.

"The whole season's been new to me and I haven't played in many finals or at Wembley so it's been a great experience (and) I've loved every minute of it.

"I've come to the club to be part of the big games and I certainly didn't imagine myself to be fortunate to be in both of them (Challenge Cup and Super League finals) in my first season. Hopefully we can get the double and top off a great year."

The Wolves, contrastingly, are the journeymen of the competition, with skipper Morley confident his Warrington can atone for their Grand Final loss to Leeds last year. It was their first and only Super League Grand Final, and Morley is hopeful of exacting revenge prior to his departure to Salford.

"When you play somewhere for seven years it's going to be emotional but I am glad I will get to play my final game here in the Grand Final,” the 36-year-old told Sky Sports News.

"We have had success in the Challenge Cup and have finished as league leaders without actually winning the Grand Finals. We have not ticked that box but we are quite confident we can compete on Saturday and hopefully go all the way."

Eurosport Australia’s game day coverage of the Super League Grand Final begins at 3.45am AEDST with an exclusive 15-minute tribute to retired Manly Sea Eagles, Catalan Dragons, Australian and New South Wales legend Steve Menzies.

LIVE coverage of the Wigan Warriors vs. Warrington Wolves Grand Final begins at 4am AEDST!

For up to date information about Eurosport’s coverage of the 2013 Super league Grand Final go to our website at au.eurosport.com




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