Proud Wiganer Greg Burke is hoping he can bank on plenty of hometown support when Salford appear in the Grand Final – and not just because they are playing St Helens!
The Red Devils will be appearing in their first Grand Final hoping to become only the fifth different club to land a Super League title.
Burke is one of five ex-Wigan players in the Salford ranks with Gil Dudson, Lee Mossop, Logan Tomkins and Mark Flanagan.
And with Warriors-bound Jackson Hastings and ex-Orrell St James amateur Jake Bibby also set to figure, there is plenty of interest for Cherry and White fans.
“We’re playing Saints, so you’d think we’d have a few supporting us,” said Burke. “But to be fair we’ve had fans from lots of different clubs wishing us well because it’s an underdog story and everyone loves that.”
Burke, who played in last Friday’s 28-4 semi-final win at the DW Stadium, never figured in a Grand Final during four years at Wigan and is relishing the opportunity.
“But it’s not a case of job done because we’ve got there,” said the 26-year-old. “It’s a case of giving ourselves a chance to do something special.
“We’re in a Grand Final which is not bad considering one Sky pundit thought we had Championship players, is it?”
Burke moved to Salford after two “forgettable years” with Widnes and admits his likely appearance at Old Trafford is as much for his parents, partner Nicole and close friends for their support.
“They were with me when I had some trying times,” said Burke. “When I was released from Wigan, they were with me through all of that.
“My mum and dad, my partner, my best mates – they picked me up in the dark times, so they should share the good times.”
Burke will also have the Old Trafford support of his two-year-old son Trent – who he named after his favourite player.
“Trent Barrett was my ultimate hero so that’s where it came from,” smiled Burke.
“When we were thinking of names I suggested it tongue in cheek, and she said, ‘Trent? Yeah, I like that...’”