SQUADS

Leeds (from): Hardaker, Briscoe, Watkins, Moon, Hall, McGuire, Burrow, Leuluai, Peacock, Ablett, Sinfield, Delaney, Achurch, Cuthbertson, Singleton, Keinhorst, Walters, Lilley, Garbutt.

Wigan (from): Bateman, Bowen, Burgess, Clubb, Crosby, Farrell, Flower, Gelling, Gildart, Manfredi, McIlorum, Mossop, O’Loughlin, Patrick, Powell, Smith, Tautai, Tomkins, Williams.

PREVIEW

Saturday’s massive clash will be the last time that Leeds Rhinos stalwarts Jamie Peacock, Kylie Leuluai and Kevin Sinfield will play Rugby League, and they will be keen to end their playing careers on a high.

But Wigan coach Shaun Wane has maintained a ruthless streak in the pre-game chatter, reserving no room for sentiment as his side look to dress the wound of last year’s tempestuous Grand Final defeat to St Helens.

Wane has recalled Anthony Gelling, while Taulima Tautai returns from suspension, as the Warriors head into their third consecutive Grand Final.

Matty Bowen plays his final game before retirement and Joe Burgess will head down under for Sydney Roosters after the final whistle, so Wigan have their own sentimental motivation.

STATS

Kevin Sinfield holds the record for most appearances and wins as captain in a Super League Grand Final after skippering Leeds on seven occasions (2004(W), 2005(L), 2007(W), 2008(W), 2009(W), 2011(W) and 2012(W).

Rhinos 19-man squad members without an appearance in a Super League Grand Final: Mitch Achurch, Tom Briscoe, Adam Cuthbertson, Mitch Garbutt, Jimmy Keinhorst, Jordan Lilley, Joel Moon, Brad Singleton, Josh Walters.

Leeds have used 28 players in this season’s Super League campaign, with Carl Ablett playing in all 31 regular season, Super 8s and play-off games.

Coach Brian McDermott takes charge of his third Super League Grand Final, having previously coached the Rhinos to victory in 2011 (v St Helens) and 2012 (v Warrington).

Jamie Peacock has the opportunity to set a new Grand Final appearance record on Saturday. Should he play, as expected, Peacock will overtake Paul Wellens, who has played in ten Old Trafford showpieces.

He already holds the record for most Super League Grand Final wins, with eight. He won with Bradford in 2001, 2003 and 2005 plus Leeds in 2007, 2008, 2009, 2011 and 2012. He was on the losing side for Bradford in 2002 and 2004.

Warriors 19-man squad members without an appearance in a Super League Grand Final: Oliver Gildart, Dominic Manfredi, Larne Patrick, Taulima Tautai.

Wigan have used 28 players in this season’s Super League campaign and have no ever-presents in their squad.

Coach Shaun Wane takes charge of his third Super League Grand Final, having previously coached the Warriors to victory in 2013 (v Warrington) and in last year’s defeat to St Helens.

Previous finals meetings:

Leeds and Wigan meet for the second time in a Super League Grand Final on Saturday, having previously contested the inaugural title decider in 1998.

Leeds have never beaten Wigan in a major final however, having previously lost the following games:

1983 John Player Trophy (15-4, at Elland Road)
1994 Challenge Cup (26-16, at Wembley)
1995 Challenge Cup (30-10, at Wembley)
1995 Premiership Final (69-12, at Old Trafford)
1998 Super League Grand Final (10-4, at Old Trafford)
2011 Challenge Cup (28-18, at Wembley)

Previous play-off meetings:

Wigan 22, Leeds 12 (SLQSF, 27/9/13)
Wigan 12, Leeds 13 (SLQSF, 28/9/12)
Leeds 6, Wigan 26 (SLQSF, 25/9/10)
Wigan 26, Leeds 27 (SLQPO, 12/9/10)
Leeds 18, Wigan 14 (SLFE, 26/9/08)
Leeds 36, Wigan 6 (SLFE, 5/10/07)
Leeds 40, Wigan 12 (SLFE, 8/10/04)
Leeds 22, Wigan 23 (SLFE, 10/10/03)
Wigan 41, Leeds 18 (SLESF, 4/10/02)
Leeds 4, Wigan 10 (SLGF, 24/10/98) (at Old Trafford, Manchester)
Wigan 17, Leeds 4 (SLQSF, 11/10/98)

Super League summary:

Leeds won 25 (includes wins in 2004, 2007, 2008, 2010 and 2012 play-offs)
Wigan won 34 (includes win in 1998 Grand Final and wins in 1998, 2002, 2003, 2010 & 2013 play-offs)
Four draws
Leeds highest score: 70-0 (H, 2005) (also widest margin)
Wigan highest score: 68-14 (H, 1996) (also widest margin)

Last 10 Meetings:

Leeds 25, Wigan 18 (SLS8-R2, 14/8/15)
Wigan 26, Leeds 24 (SLR21, 9/7/15)
Leeds 12, Wigan 27 (SLR16, 30/5/15) (at St James’ Park, Newcastle)
Leeds 26, Wigan 14 (SLR6, 20/3/15)
Wigan 21, Leeds 6 (SLR26, 5/9/14)
Leeds 14, Wigan 18 (SLR13, 17/5/14) (at Etihad Stadium, Manchester)
Leeds 28, Wigan 12 (SLR11, 2/5/14)
Wigan 22, Leeds 12 (SLQSF, 27/9/13)
Wigan 6, Leeds 20 (SLR27, 5/9/13)
Leeds 16, Wigan 20 (SLR16, 26/5/13) (at Etihad Stadium, Manchester)

 

PREDICTION

Form-wise, Wigan should be favourites, but this Grand Final, and all the emotions attached to it in both camps, means the form book is almost irrelevant. This could well be the tightest final in years. Extra time? Possibly. Leeds by 1.