The day has finally arrived, as Castleford Tigers and Leeds Rhinos cross the Pennines from Yorkshire to meet in Manchester at Old Trafford to do battle in the Super League Grand Final.
With the chance of silverware gleaming and tempting both clubs, our man sidesteps his way through the pack to bring his tips for success... Enjoy!
The Pre-Match Warm Up…
The Tigers will be without ex-Leeds man Zak Hardaker for the Final, with the 25-year-old missing out due to a ‘breach of club rules’, whilst Leeds have been given a boost with news that Stevie Ward has recovered ridiculously quick after picking up a dislocated shoulder in the narrow victory against Hull last Friday.
Due to Hardaker’s absence, coach Daryl Powell is expected to bring in Australian Jy Hitchcox and Oliver Holmes, whilst Rhinos’ chief Brian McDermott will hand skipper Danny McGuire a 424th appearance for the club in what will be his farewell – and the same can be said for fellow Leeds man Rob Burrow, with both long-standing Rhinos hoping to bow out on a real high, with both making their debuts for Leeds way back in 2001.
Leeds have experience on their side hearing into this one, with five of the current squad – including the aforementioned McGuire and Burrow – appearing in the 2011 Grand Final win. Leeds, of course, also won the Grand Final back in 2015 and are the club to have the most triumphs in the Grand Final, winning it seven times.
That’s quite a contrast to Castleford – who are based just 16 miles away from the city – with the Tigers in their first ever Grand Final. The lack of Final experience and nous could be crucial, but it is a final after all, and as the old cliché goes, anything can happen in a one-off game.
These two have met on a regular basis – including four already in 2017. Leeds fans may want to look away now, as Castleford have won the last eight clashes against their local rivals. That surely has to be food for thought for you punters out there!
The Two Teams…
Leeds: Carl Ablett, Tom Briscoe, Rob Burrow, Adam Cuthbertson, Brett Ferres, Mitch Garbutt, Ashton Golding, Ryan Hall Jamie Jones-Buchanan, Jimmy Keinhorst, Danny McGuire (c), Joel Moon, Anthony Mullally, Matt Parcell, Brad Singleton, Liam Sutcliffe, Jack Walker, Stevie Ward, Kallum Watkins
What We Sayin’?
Castleford didn’t play well in the semi-final but showed strength in ensuring progress to the Final. We’re backing them for a better display in Manchester and fancy them to continue their great recent record against Leeds. A Cas winning margin of 6-10 points is a 5/1 shot, which looks to have value.
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