GIANTS assistant coach Paul Anderson is relishing what he believes could be a classic Grand Final tonight and hoping it’s not long before his own club are competing in Super League’s biggest game of the year.
Reigning champions Leeds Rhinos and St Helens will lock horns for the third time on the trot at Old Trafford (6.00) in a clash between Anderson’s first club (Leeds) and his last (Saints).
The Galpharm No2 admits he would have loved to have seen the Giants reach the ‘Theatre of Dreams’ for the first time.
But he still can’t wait to see Super League’s two current dominant forces in action in what many predict could be one of the fiercest encounters in Grand Final history.
“This game is between the two teams who have been the most consistent over the year and it’s got all the ingredients to be a classic,” said Anderson.
“There’s no doubt it’s going to be very physical and it could prove to be pretty high-scoring, but who will win is anyone’s guess. The key will be which side comes up with the best kicking game and is able to build pressure on the back of it. I always enjoy watching these two teams battle it out, having played for both, and I don’t really have a strong allegiance one way or the other.
“My main hope is that we see a final that provides a fitting climax to what’s been another great season, not just in terms of Super League but for the Giants.
“Playing in the Grand Final is something everyone strives for, and this year we put ourselves in a better position than ever before as a club.
“The fact we weren’t able to make the most of our third-place finish in the regular season was really disappointing, but the players now have far more of an idea of what it takes to compete at play-off level.
“When you get to this stage, the intensity and expectation levels rise.
“You shouldn’t be happy just because you’ve reached the play-offs. That’s simply the opportunity to try and push on and reach the Grand Final, which is the prize you work for all year, and that’s what we’ll be looking to do next season.”
Anderson will be taking a close look at the form of St Helens second-rower Lee Gilmour at tonight’s match. Gilmour is playing his last game for Saints before moving to the Giants for the next two years.
And Anderson expects his former teammate to have an impressive game.
“I hope Lee does himself proud and the club proud, which I’m sure he will,” added Anderson.
“He’s a good player and an excellent professional – just the sort of individual who’ll do a great job for us next year – and I know how keen he is to join us on the back of winning the Grand Final.”