Super League Grand Final preview: Warrington Wolves v Wigan Warriors
By Ben Hampshire. Last Updated: 05/10/13 8:36pm
A place in Super League folklore will be secured for one side on Saturday as Warrington Wolves take on Wigan Warriors in an eagerly-anticipated Grand Final at Old Trafford.
Warrington ended the regular season as runners-up to Huddersfield Giants, while Wigan finished fourth in the Super League standings.
The Wolves, who were beaten 26-18 by Leeds Rhinos in last year's Grand Final, have named an unchanged 19-man squad from their 30-22 semi-final triumph over the Giants.
Route to the Grand Final
4th in Super League
Play-off: Giants 8-22 Warriors
Semi-final: Warriors 22-10 Rhinos
2nd in Super League
Play-off: Wolves 40-20 Rhinos
Semi-final: Wolves 30-22 Giants
Meanwhile, Wigan have spent the week sweating over the fitness of captain Sean O'Loughlin, who has not donned a Warriors jersey since the Challenge Cup final victory over Hull FC at Wembley in August.
But the England loose forward O'Loughlin is included after passing a fitness test, despite only having a protective boot from an Achilles problem removed on Monday, as the Warriors look to become the first side since St Helens in 2006 to complete a league and cup double.
The 30-year-old led Wigan to Grand Final glory in 2010, which was their last appearance in Super League's showcase event.
Sam Tomkins touched down in the Warriors 22-12 semi-final victory over the Rhinos and will be looking to bow out in style as he makes his final appearance in the red and white of Wigan before completing his world record move to NRL side New Zealand Warriors.
Prop Lee Mossop and winger Pat Richards also head down under at the end of the campaign, while Warrington will also bid a fond farewell to a number of high-profile players at the weekend.
Full-back Brett Hodgson and forwards Gareth Carvell and Mike Cooper are set to move on and Wolves veteran captain Adrian Morley will take his final bow for the club.
Tony Smith's Wolves had the edge during the regular season after a 17-17 draw at the DW Stadium before a late strike on home soil propelled them to a 22-12 victory in June.
Eight of the players on show at Old Trafford this weekend feature in Steve McNamara's 24-man England squad for the forthcoming Rugby League World Cup.
A classic Grand Final affair, which many expect to surpass the standard of recent years, will do plenty to whet the appetite for coming months.
Wolves: Atkins, C Bridge, Briers, Carvell, Cooper, Grix, Harrison, Higham, Hill, Hodgson, J Monaghan, M. Monaghan, Morley, Myler, Ratchford, C Riley, Waterhouse, Westwood, Wood.
Wigan: Charnley, Crosby, Dudson, Farrell, Flower, Gelling, Goulding, Green, Hansen, Hughes, McIlorum, Mossop, O'Loughlin, Richards, Smith, Taylor, Thornley, L Tomkins, S Tomkins.
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