Castleford and Leeds have named their 19-man squads for Saturday’s Betfred Super League Grand Final at Old Trafford.
The headlines centre around a man who has played for both clubs – Zak Hardaker – who will sit out following a breach of club discipline.
The Tigers are, rightly, focusing on the players who are available for selection and they welcome back Oliver Holmes and Jy Hitchcox to the squad that defeated St Helens last week.
Newly crowned Man of Steel Luke Gale is included, as is Super League’s top try scorer Greg Eden, as Castleford look to create history by securing victory in their maiden Grand Final and with it become only the fifth different team to win Super League since its inception in 1996.
Leeds are no strangers to this stage and have won on their last six appearances in the Grand Final – their last loss coming against Bradford back in 2005.
They are the most decorated team in Super League history, having won the competition seven times, including as recently as 2015, when they defeated Wigan 22-20.
For them, it marks an emotional occasion to for coach Brian McDermott, who was visibly taken aback by last week’s win over Hull which earned them a place in the Grand Final, having last season failed to make the Super 8s.
It will also be the final bow for club legends Rob Burrow and Danny McGuire, both mainstays of the dynasty that has brought so much success to Headingley over the past decade or so.
Only six of Leeds’ 19-man squad haven’t appeared in a Grand Final before – they are Ashton Golding, Matt Parcell, Brett Ferres, Anthony Mullally, Jack Walker and Liam Sutcliffe.
Castleford 19-man squad: Cook, Eden, Foster, Gale, Hitchcox, Holmes, Massey, McMeeken, McShane, Millington, Milner, Minikin, Moors, Monaghan, Roberts, Sene-Lefao, Shenton, Springer, Webster.
Leeds 19-man squad: Golding, Briscoe, Watkins, Moon, Hall, McGuire, Burrow, Parcell, Cuthbertson, Jones-Buchanan, Ablett, Ward, Sutcliffe, Singleton, Garbutt, Keinhorst, Ferres, Mullally, Walker.