Huddersfield Giants game was perfect preparation for Grand Final says St Helens' Potter
ST HELENS boss Mick Potter believes last Friday’s semi-final against the Giants could prove the perfect preparation for tomorrow’s Super League Grand Final against arch rivals Wigan at Old Trafford (6.00).
Saints were forced to battle for their lives before eventually beating Huddersfield 42-22 in the final game at Knowsley Road.
But Potter’s men found themselves 22-18 behind with 30 minutes remaining before digging deep and turning the contest around.
And the Australian, who is in charge at Saints for the last time before taking over at Bradford Bulls, feels that could give his side the edge against a Wigan side who were comfortable 26-6 winners at Leeds last Saturday.
"Last Friday was a good warm-up match – so to speak – because Wigan have a lot of the same traits at Huddersfield," said Potter.
"They are difficult to stop and difficult to score against.
"But we’ll need to do a bit better than we did against Huddersfield. We understand how hard Wigan are going to be to defeat and they are entitled to be favourites.
"They have been the most consistent team with the most wins and the best defensive record. But we are hopefully going to give them a good show."
Potter has been at the Saints helm just two seasons and is moving after both parties ostensibly decided not to renew their partnership for next year.
He has inevitably suffered in comparison to his immediate predecessors – his countrymen Ian Millward and Daniel Anderson – but taking Saints to two successive Grand Finals is no mean feat for any coach.
Potter admits it is a shame to be heading out of the most successful club of the Super League era but, after a couple of lean years at Odsal, Saints’ loss could easily prove Bradford’s gain.
"I am sad to be leaving," said Potter, whose side were beaten by Leeds at Old Trafford last year.
"I have really enjoyed working with the players. They are a very good bunch of guys.
"They are determined, work hard and have a no-fuss attitude about the game.
"They are only too willing to please and want to play good rugby league.
"I am going to be sad to leave them but I have got a new challenge at Bradford from November.
"I’m looking forward to starting at Bradford but I’ve still got a little bit of work to do here first."
Restoring Saints’ Super League crown after three successive Grand Final defeats would be the perfect send-off.
Potter, who also led Catalans Dragons to the 2007 Challenge Cup final, has proved one of the game’s quiet achievers but he modestly prefers to keep the focus on his players.
He said: "It is fantastic to be back at Old Trafford for a second year for myself, but I feel it more for the players.
"It is well deserved given how the semi-finals panned out."