SOME players say Grand Final week becomes easier, the more they plan in.
I’m not sure about that.
It won’t be a flashy play which wins us the game, it will be hard work, hard gains, hard tacklesLiam Farrell
When I played in my first final in 2010, it was all new and exciting and I didn’t know what to expect – I just went along with it.
Saturday’s game will be my fourth Grand Final and – now I know what it’s about – I try and not think about it.
Because if you do, there’s a danger you can play the game out in your head.
Just being back at Old Trafford earlier this week brought back the butterflies!
But this is what we play the game for, the Grand Final is a great occasion and it’s brilliant that it’s already sold out.
We trained yesterday and started previewing Leeds. We’ve played each other four times already this year so we have a good idea of what they’ll do – and they know exactly how we play.
We all know what Leeds are capable of. They have some quality players – but we do, too.
There are some great contests across the line-ups.
That’s why it’ll come down to the 80 minutes.
In the end, I think it’ll come down to who will want it more.
And I know that’s an easy thing to say - because every player wants to win a Grand Final - but it’s about putting in the extra effort for your team-mate. Giving that extra one per cent.
It won’t be a flashy play which wins us the game, it will be hard work, hard gains, hard tackles. Will last year’s defeat motivate us? Undoubtedly, to some degree. It was a tough one to take.
I’ve been very fortunate to win two Grand Finals and two Challenge Cups.
Last year was my first final defeat and it hurt more than I thought it would, and we don’t want to feel that again.
A lot of the build-up has been about Kevin Sinfield, JP and Kylie Leuluai moving on, but we’ve got players of our own who want to depart with a Grand Final win.
Joe Burgess is obviously leaving for Sydney Roosters, while Matty Bowen is heading back to Australia.
I can’t begin to tell you how much respect I have for Mango.
There have been stages in his two years here when he’s been out the team, but he never moaned, never complained. He just worked harder to get back in the side, and that spoke volumes about the player he is.
And, of course, his form recently has been terrific - he’s been one of our outstanding players. I hope we can get the win for him.