The Grand Final of the Super League sees the top two from the regular season clash as Castleford Tigers go in search of their first ever title against local rivals Leeds Rhinos.
The Rhinos are one of the most successful sides in history with ten titles to their name including seven in the Super League era.
Castleford, though, were by far the most impressive team during the regular season and they registered four wins over Leeds during the season – home and away in the regular campaign, a win at the Magic Weekend and also victory in the Super8s.
But coach Daryl Powell is insistent that his side need to ignore their favourite tags.
“I’m not really bothered who are favourites, I don’t think it matters one way or the other,” said Powell.
“It’s just toilet roll, really. It’ll get flushed away and mean nothing. It’s all about turning up and playing, whether we’re favourites or not won’t change it. It’s how we handle Old Trafford.
“We have a great opportunity to finish the season off with the biggest trophy on Saturday night in front of a packed-out stadium at Old Trafford.
“I expect a real tough battle on Saturday, we have good quality players across the park and we’ll focus on us.”
One of the big stories on Saturday was set to be Zak Hardaker – the Leeds man on-loan at Castleford and one of the star men of the 2017 season. One of the nominees for Man of Steel, Hardaker will not play in the final after a ‘breach of club rules’.
Leeds coach Brian McDermott is delighted to be battling for the title, after being involved in the relegation play-offs 12-months ago.
“The job is not done and, if we don’t win it will hurt, but I think that’s a huge achievement from the players who endured all sorts of ridicule,” he said.
“Things were written and said about them. We only added one bloke to the squad and for them to first off finish second and secure top-four with two games to go in itself shows what a character they’ve got, and to get through to the Grand Final is big.
“Because of what’s gone on over the last 18 months, I reckon my group has had more honest chats than any other team in Super League. We nearly got relegated and that level of honesty now far outweighs the quality that we come up with on game day.”
The match will also mark the final appearances for Leeds legends Danny McGuire and Rob Burrow.
“I think it’ll hit me when the final whistle blows and hopefully it’s a really good reaction, rather than a disappointment,” said Burrow.
McGuire added: “I’m going to try and keep everything in check before the game and make sure I don’t let the emotion get to me, but I might have a little cry after the game.”
Castleford Tigers 18:00 Leeds Rhinos
Old Trafford, October 7th
Match odds: Castleford 1/2 Leeds 13/8
BetFred says: Zak Hardaker’s absence has led to substantial bets over the last 24 hours on underdogs Leeds putting one over the season’s undisputed outstanding team Castleford in the Betfred Super League Grand Final at Old Trafford. Leeds do have the big game experience however all but Rhino fans admire the expensive, highly entertaining style of the Tigers who should win by at least six. It is the fourth time in a row that the top two have contested the showpiece game which proves beyond doubt the success of the competition. Newly crowned Man of Steel Luke Gale is 12/1 to be the first try scorer – and the star who makes Cas tick is 3/1 to be man of the match