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OPPOSITION CORNER: A special opponent for a special night
WINNING any Super League Grand Final is special, but beating Wigan Warriors to do so would be out of this world.
History dictates it as such, with a trail of final and semi-final losses to the Pie Eaters in major competitions lying in Wolves’ wake over the past 118 years.
Other than the Lancashire Cup triumph in 1980, when Wigan were a Second Division team, there has been little to shout about in the deciders, while the Challenge Cup semi-final triumph in 2009 signalled a turn around.
Wolves have been the dominant force in Super League matches in recent times, and now that has to be translated into the big one at Old Trafford.
Wolves, who have lost only one of their last eight meetings with the cherry and whites, hold the edge this season thanks to a narrow 22-12 home success in June, backing up a 17-17 draw at the DW Stadium in February.
More recently, since defeating Hull 16-0 in the Challenge Cup Final, Shaun Wane’s side went into the play-offs with home losses to the Airlie Birds and Leeds.
But their form picked up in the 22-8 win at table toppers Huddersfield before disposing of champions Leeds last week to book their ticket to Old Trafford.
Welsh forward signing Andy Powell is absent with injury, the jury is still out on a Sean O’Loughlin comeback – as he did for the Wembley showdown.
With Sam Tomkins, Pat Richards and Lee Mossop making their farewell appearances, there are similar sentiments in the two camps to say goodbye to big names with a glorious win.
Hopefully referee Richard Silverwood will control the ruck well and a classic can unfold.
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