Smith: Contrast in styles
Head of coaching and rugby Tony Smith has been preparing his team all year for this moment. Tomorrow evening the Wolves will face rivals Wigan Warriors at Old Trafford, 6pm.
Tony is delighted to have Warrington reach the Grand Final for a second consecutive year and to be up against another north-west giant.
"Both are well-supported clubs. Our support is second to none in terms of through thick and thin so it's nice that they are getting the chance to see us play in finals on a semi regular basis. In most recent years they've been rewarded for their support by good performances and hopefully we can make them happy again this year.
"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. It's nice to have a couple of different teams there after Leeds' domination of the Grand Final for so many years."
Tomorrow's game will be on a big stage and is the climax of the season but Tony says it's important to keep grounded and focussed on the game in hand.
"It's still a game of Rugby League; you still need to make your tackles, execute your plays, catch balls, pass balls and kick well. The emotions probably ride a little differently because of the occasion but it's controlling them. It's certainly different in the build up; there's plenty of distractions, or can be, in terms of pre and post game arrangements, family and all those important sorts of things to deal with. These can be distracting from somebody's performance because you don't have to deal with them in the same way each and every week but having experienced some of that last year has probably helped us this year - we are hoping so at least."
The Wolves haven't been named Champions since 1954/55 and it's great to see them pushing for these titles once again.
"It's good to have some consistency; back here for the second time running. It's nice to be competing for it; hopefully if we can put it all together for 80 minutes we can go one step further than what we did last year but it will all come down to the day and how you handle the occasion and how you execute but we are in there trying."
At the start of every season, every team sets its sights on reaching Old Trafford but only two can. The regular season and play-offs are complete; it all comes down to tomorrow.
"It's been good practice all year. We try to improve and we certainly need to improve from our last week's performance but if we can do that we'll be pleased as it will give us our best shot. We are working hard, hopefully we can get the town of Warrington out supporting us but also celebrating the next day.
"It's about keeping control of your emotions and preparing to play Rugby League as best you can and that's the focus for us at the moment."
(photo courtesy of swpix)
04, Oct, 2013