The St Helens coach Daniel Anderson is determined to go out with a bang. Tomorrow's Super League Grand Final against Leeds at Old Trafford will be Anderson's last in charge of Saints before flying back to Australia. But he remains determined to make up for last year's poor performance in the final when St Helens were routinely dispatched by Leeds 33-6.
Anderson insists revenge has nothing to do with it, despite the fact he looks likely to name a virtually identical starting line-up to the 2007 final - the prop Nick Scruton likely to be in the only change from 12 months ago. "It might be a boring way to look at it but this is just another game of rugby we have to win," Anderson said. "Our players have learnt a lot from a year ago. First off, they know that if they play like that they'll get trounced.
"We've had to change our style for playing Leeds to avoid getting beaten like that and it seems to be working, although I can't take credit for that. I'm just lucky to be surrounded by some of the very best players in the world now." St Helens look to have got the beating of Leeds and will go into the final as favourites. Saints have won the last three encounters between the two sides, most tellingly the play-off game two weekends ago in which they ran in seven tries in a comfortable 38-10 victory.
The win paved the way for their third successive Grand Final appearance, a stage where they boast unenviable success having won five of the last seven finals. The prop James Graham received a boost in the build-up to the final after being handed the Man of Steel award. Graham, 23, has made nearly 4,000m this season, more than any other player in the league. But while he admitted he was honoured by the accolade, he said he would happily return it for a win on tomorrow.
"It's all about the team for me," he said, "and if it meant winning the Super League trophy, I'd give the award back in an instant. The plan, though, is to try to win both of them." Victory would mark a domestic whitewash having topped the Super League at the end of the regular season and having won last month's Challenge Cup final. However, the Leeds playmaker Kevin Sinfield is determined to halt that dominance and believes the recent defeat to Saints will have no bearing on the final.
He said: "Defending a trophy like that is pretty powerful and we don't want to give it back. That last game will be completely out of our minds at Old Trafford. Our motivation will be the fact that we're in a Super League final and we'll go into the game knowing we're capable of success on the biggest stage. "The Saints will find us a different prospect on Saturday." email@example.com