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Warrington Wolves' and St Helens' pack stars reunite nine years after NRL showdown
WARRINGTON Wolves’ play-off semi final trip to St Helens on Saturday, kick off 6.15pm, will be something of a reunion for Trent Waterhouse.
Nearly 10 years after the 31-year-old second row won the NRL Grand Final in 2003, the Kangaroo international is set to line up against his former Penrith Panthers teammate Tony Puletua as Wolves look to take the final plunge in their own title bid at Langtree Park.
And the familiarities do not stop there, with Waterhouse stepping out on to the field with Grand Final opponents Adrian Morley and Chris Flannery, who both played for the Sydney Roosters side that lost 18-6 to Penrith in 2003.
“There are potentially four of us playing this weekend that played in that 2003 Grand Final, so it is amazing how things work out,” said Waterhouse.
“Nine years down the track we are all still fighting to get to another final, it’s great.
“Hopefully this time both me and Moz will be celebrating, rather than just me.”
Despite the fact that nearly a decade has passed since the pair ripped it up for Penrith in Sydney, Waterhouse is wary that his friend and Exiles teammate Puletua is still one of Saints’ main threats and a player Wolves will need to keep quiet if they are to reach their first ever Grand Final.
Along with Sia Soliola, Puletua’s offloads and attacking threat played an important role in Saints’ qualification win at The Halliwell Jones Stadium two weeks ago, and now Waterhouse is desperate to turn the tables on his former teammate and provide a similar catalyst for Warrington’s progression to Old Trafford.
“Tony is a great mate,” he said.
“But one of us will be getting to another Grand Final and the other will be very disappointed, so I hope it is me who is left celebrating at the end of it all.
“He is a great player who is still playing some of his best footy and he is a big, strong, fast and dangerous player.
“On his day he is pretty much unstoppable, but hopefully we will do just that on Saturday.
“We have to make sure he doesn’t get too much ball and we will have to have numbers on him to make sure he does as little damage as possible.
“On the flip side, I have to make sure I hit my best.
“I was happy with my game last week, but I was not so happy with myself the week before, so I want to go out there and lead by example.
“If I don’t back it up this week (Waterhouse won man of the match in Wolves’ win against Hull) it means nothing. I have to have another big game this week, too.”