LIAM Farrell admits tonight’s encounter will be “extra special” because it is a derby showdown.
The England second rower, who has two Super League titles to his name already, knows how it feels to walk away from the season finale with the main prize.
And having already endured the extra heat provided by facing St Helens at the Theatre of Dream in 2010, the workhorse affectionately known by the Wigan faithful as the Ginger Pearl is speaking from experience.
“It’s one of those - playing Saints gives it 100 per cent more significance,” Farrell said.
“It’s a big game anyway, it’s Saints, and that makes it more special.”
Farrell has a knack for scoring tries against St Helens - famously crossing the whitewash with seconds to spare on Good Friday in 2011 to snatch a dramatic win for Wigan, as well as finding the line twice in this years’ 33-14 win at Langtree Park.
But the softly-spoken 24-year-old isn’t taking his favourable record against Wigan’s arch-enemies for granted, and admits despite the heavy odds against Saints tonight, the champions can’t take the task of retaining their title lightly.
“It’s not going to be easy,” he warned.
“They’ve played well and grinded out some wins with some injured players.
“They’re playing a simple game, they have big men they use well and Roby is jumping off the back of them.”
Saints finished top of the regular season to claim the League Leaders’ Shield, with the noteable handicap of having classy half Luke Walsh and sharp, ex-Orrell St James’ playmaker Jonny Lomax out injured.
But Wigan have also had to battle the odds for much of the season.
High profile stars such as Lee Mossop, Sam Tomkins and Pat Richards all departed at the end of 2013, leaving a clutch of new players such as Dan Sarginson, Tony Clubb and rising youngsters like Joe Burgess to plug the gaps.
“A lot of people didn’t expect us to be back here,” admitted Farrell.
“We lost a lot of experience last year – it’s a massive test for out players but I’m chuffed for them.”
FOR MORE ON THIS INTERVIEW AND OTHERS WITH SEAN O’LOUGHLIN, SAM POWELL AND MANY MORE SEE THE WIGAN EVENING POST (SATURDAY) FOR A SPECIAL EIGHT-PAGE PULL-OUT PREVIEWING THE GRAND FINAL