Five things to look forward to this weekend #3

There are lots to look forward to ahead of the 2017 Super League Grand Final this weekend.

Daryl Powell’s Castleford Tigers take on Brian McDermott’s Leeds Rhinos in the 2017 Betfred Super League Grand Final at Old Trafford on Saturday, 6pm kick-off.

THE BATTLE OF THE HALVES

Will Luke Gale showcase their magic and flair once again on Saturday or will the experience of Danny McGuire, Joel Moon and Rob Burrow shine through?

Gale has been the most impressive player this season and won the Steve Prescott Man of Steel award this week. Samoa international Ben Roberts has taken a lot of weight from Gale’s shoulders in the Super 8s and is a match-winner himself.

However, the Tigers duo are in for a tough ride against the Rhinos. McGuire and Burrow will play their last games for the club and have been great servants, but even better players. Their game management is fantastic while Moon, who is a centre by trade, has played very well in the halves this season.

MINIKIN V HALL

Greg Minikin has had a real breakthrough year at Castleford, scoring 19 tries in 25 Super League appearances for the Tigers and certainly has an eye for the try-line. The 22-year-old has busted 52 tackles this season while also making 24 clean breaks by using his nippy footwork.

His opposite winger, Ryan Hall, has had yet another solid year for Leeds. He has only scored 10 compared to Minikin but having the England ace in the team is welcomed by the Rhinos pack. Hall has made 428 carries and he takes the ball in as well as any back-rower in the competition so it will be a tasty contest between the pair on Saturday.

THE FULLBACK DEBATE

McDermott has named both Ashton Golding and Jack Walker in his 19-man squad so who will go with? Golding has only scored twice in 21 Super League games but is a good player to have at fullback because he reads the game well. He has busted 54 tackles though and made 16 offloads when going forward.

Walker has two tries in nine games for the Rhinos and made his debut at 17 years of age. He has an average gain of 7.17 in the 110 drives that he has took in. There isn’t much between the duo but will McDermott go with Walker? Or will he go for that bit more experience in Golding?

With Zak Hardaker being dropped by Castleford Tigers for a breach of club rules, Jy Hitchcox has come into the squad and will likely play on the wing, moving try-scoring machine Greg Eden to fullback. Eden’s preferred position before he joined the Tigers was at fullback so he might embrace the opportunity on Saturday.

RAZORLIGHT HEADLINING ENTERTAINMENT

The British indie rock band will play in the Stretford End corner before kick-off and are likely to play their big hits such as ‘America’, ‘ In the Morning’ and ‘Before I Fall To Pieces’ and ‘Golden Touch’.

The band played a couple of festivals and events in the summer and are sure to get the fans on their feet in the Theatre of Dreams this weekend.

BBC Radio 6 DJ Stuart Maconie will start the entertainment with a Northern Soul set while Laura Wright will sign her rendition of Jerusalem just before the big kick-off at 6pm.

PARCELL V MCSHANE

Many journalists and fans thought Matt Parcell should’ve been in the top three nominees for the Man of Steel award but made the cut for the Super League Dream Team in his debut nonetheless. He has played 29 games in Super League this term, scoring 17 times and he has grabbed 16 assists as well.

But Paul McShane has been equally as good this year and has played a big role in Castleford’s League Leaders’ Shield winning season. He loves to get stuck in, making 898 tackles throughout the campaign but has got a good attacking side to his game as well, coming up with 19 assists and busting 41 tackles. They both have good Rugby League brains so it will be interesting to see how they run the game.

How do you see the game going? Let us know in the comments below.

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