10th October 2018, 07:41 |
The difference between winning and losing in Rugby League, and whoever patrols your touchline can definitely be the determining factor in success.
Former teammates, Josh Charnley and Dom Manfredi have both faced time out of the game in 2018 – for different reasons – but have both been pivotal to their sides this season.
Manfredi returned from injury after two years out and returned to the scoring charts quickly, scoring twice against Warrington in the last time the two sides met. Manfredi has been caught up in a whirlwind since returning from injury and is excited about the final.
“It’s mad for me, I never thought I’d walk out on the field again never mind walking out at Old Trafford at a Grand Final - I’m going to leave it all out there.
“It’s magical, the noise, the atmosphere, it’s amazing.”
The Wigan winger has experience at the Grand Final, scoring in the 2015 showpiece, albeit failing to pick up the famous trophy. His teammate at the time, Josh Charnley, replaced him in2016, scoring a 63rd minute try to win the game.
Charnley also had an 18-month absence from the game, switching codes to play for Aviva Premiership side Sale. His struggled to find his prolific form in League, however, and registered four tries in 32 appearances.
Charnley too reacquainted himself with the Wigan faithful upon his return, scoring against his old side in the 23-0 win for the Wolves during the Challenge Cup in June.
He has returned to the 13-man code, describing himself as a ‘more confident player’ and it has showed – scoring 15 tries in Super League this year to lead the Wolves to two finals appearances.
Manfredi will be hoping to send-off long-time coach Shaun Wane, NRL-bound John Bateman, Sam Tomkins and Ryan Sutton with a Grand Final winners medal.
“There are players leaving and coaches leaving who really deserve to win that and if we don’t win it we fall short, so there’s a lot riding on this week and on this game.”
Both players will be hoping their returning years to the game will be winning ones, and both will hope to register on the scoresheet for another Grand Final.