Shaun Wane has admitted that he does hate St Helens, but it is a “healthy” dislike, backed up by considerable respect for Nathan Brown’s team.
The Wigan coach is relishing the chance to play Saints at Old Trafford this Saturday, in a repeat of the 2010 Grand Final, which the Warriors won 22-10.
“It’s a healthy dislike, a healthy hatred, but I do respect a lot of people at St Helens,” said the Wigan coach.
“Keiron Cunningham, Mike Rush and Derek Traynor are some good people, and good rugby league men.
“They have the same thought process as us, with bringing kids through.
“So I do have respect, but, at the end of the day, it’s Wigan v St Helens and I do want to win.
“There’s that healthy hatred there, and they feel the same way about us.
“I’m really excited, I’m enjoying every single day because we’ve worked hard to get to this stage of the season.
“The players have really worked hard and been quite intense, so I’m really looking forward to them making sure that we give it our all on Saturday.
“Hopefully we’ll get the same result [as 2010]. Saints are a good team, and different to what they were back then.
“We know what we need to do to win this game, and they’ll have a game plan as well.
“So it comes down to which team wants it the most.
“It’ll be a little bit greasy so we need to change our game plan a bit. But Nathan Brown is a smart coach, and he’ll be doing exactly the same.
“But it does have the makings of a really good intense battle.
“The feeling I would get [from winning is immeasurable, it would mean everything to me.
“I think it’ll go down to the wire, and I think we’ve got enough desire in our team to make sure it’s us.”
Wane is happy with his team’s preparations, and feels that a tough game last week against Warrington was the ideal thing to get his players in the right mood for the Grand Final.
“Going into this game, we’ve had a tough hit-out against Warrington,” he said.
“I understand what we need to do. Our players are really focused, we’ve got a lot of local people in our team as well, who understand what it means to everybody in Wigan.
“So we’ll make sure that we give 100 per cent on Saturday.”
Wigan will also name the same matchday squad as they did for the semi-final win over Warrington.
“It will be the same 17,” Wane confirmed.
“I’m very happy with how we’re playing and we’ve won four big games over some real big guns.
“It doesn’t come bigger than a Wigan-Saints derby, and when you couple that up with a Grand Final it really has the makings of a real humdinger of a game.”
His club coach expects him to be an inspirational leader, backed up by having several of his club-mates in the England squad too.
“He’s the best in the business, is Lockers,” said Wane.
“I’m looking forward to see how he copes with it.
“We’ve got a good influx of Wigan players in there and it’s something we should be really proud of.
“Lockers having all those players there will help him no end.”