Wigan Warriors take on Warrington Wolves in the 2013 Super League Grand Final at Manchester United's Old Trafford in what promises to be one of the closest finals in years.
Wigan Warriors' boss Shaun Wane believes the game will be incredibly close but he is relying on Wigan's organised, almost machine-like attack to break down a tough Warrington Wolves defence.
He told the Wigan Warriors website: "We are in a good place going into this Final and when we attack we are a good side, we just need to be relentless for the full 80 minutes. I am under no illusion how tough Warrington will be, they are a good team and they play the game at a quick tempo. There is no doubt about it this is a major challenge for us but I know we are up for it."
Much of his selection choices will revolve around captain Sean O'Loughlin, who has not played since the Challenge Cup victory over Hull FC. If he starts he will bring extra experience to the Wigan team, something Wane has indicated Warrington may have the edge in when the match kicks off. Wigan have named an unchanged squad from the one that beat Huddersfield Giants and the continuity should stand them in good stead at Old Trafford.
While Wigan's nerves will be frayed at the prospect of a Grand Final and Challenge Cup double, Warrington Wolves will have their own nerves to cope with; the club has not won the biggest club prize since 1955 and face the prospect of ending the season without any silverware if they are defeated.
Coach Tony Smith is already contemplating Wigan's organisation, telling the Warrington Wolves website: "Wigan are a well-supported team too so it should be a great atmosphere and an intriguing game too as there's a contrast in styles; we are probably a bit more adlib and Wigan are a bit more structured in their attacking style. The fact that we've had such competitive games over the last two or three years also makes it intriguing."Warrington will once again turn to Lee Briers with the 35-year-old still the club's greatest attacking threat with his ability to unlock a defence with his kicking game. He will be probing the Wigan defence and even the influential Sam Tomkins has warned his Wigan side to keep a close eye on the veteran during the game.
Much of the pre-match hype has been on the players who have one last chance to win the Grand Final. The most notable name is Sam Tomkins, the full-back who will be departing to play for New Zealand Warriors after his world record transfer. He will be joined by Pat Richards and Lee Mossop, who will both be plying their trade in the NRL in Australia from next year.Warrington will also be saying farewell to a number of players at the final whistle. Brett Hodgson, Garreth Carvell, Mike Cooper and captain Adrian Morley will all play their last game for the club and for Morley in particular it is sure to be an emotional occasion after he agreed a move to Salford Red Devils for next season.
Past meetingsWarrington Wolves won the last game between these two sides by scoring late to secure a 22-12 victory over Warriors in June, However, Wigan had 13 players missing for that game and should put up much more of a resistance this time around.
Perhaps a better indicator of how closely matched the two teams are comes from the February game at the DW stadium, which ended in a 17-17 draw. With two superb defences the next meeting behind the two sides will come down to who can attack effectively. Will Wigan's slick, precise play wear down Wolves or will Warrington's creativity top the scales in their favour?
Wigan can call upon Super League top scorer Josh Charnley to create their chances. He has scored 42 times this year and will want to increase that score on Saturday. Meanwhile, Joel Monaghan is Wolves' top scorer and greatest threat on his day.
The 16th Super League final will be staged at Old Trafford, the home of Manchester United Football Club, and for the next four years the 76,000 all-seater stadium, labelled the Theatre of Dreams, will be the host of the Super League finale.
While Wembley retains a special place in the sport as the Challenge Cup final venue the decision to use Old Trafford for another four years is a good one; it has successfully held the event since 1998 and is a shorter trip for fans of the northern teams - with all but two coming from the north of the country.
Old Trafford officials can use the event to practice for the Rugby League World Cup final, which wll take place on the 30 November at the stadium.