War­riors can­not let emo­tion win the day

Manchester Evening News - - SPORT - RUGBY LEAGUE By IAN LAYBOURN

WIGAN cap­tain Sean O’Lough­lin is hop­ing for a fairy tale end­ing for coach Shaun Wane and his de­part­ing team-mates – but warns that emo­tion will only take the team so far.

To­day’s Grand Fi­nal at Old Traf­ford will bring down the cur­tain on the Wigan ca­reers of Sam Tomkins, Ryan Sut­ton and John Bate­man, as well as the brains trust on the back­room staff, and O’Lough­lin says vic­tory over War­ring­ton would pro­vide a fit­ting farewell.

“We used the emo­tional ties to get us here, the fact that lads are leav­ing and staff are leav­ing,” he said.

“But we’ve spo­ken about the fact that doesn’t give us any right to it and also that emo­tion can only get us so far, it’s about per­for­mance.

“As much as we try to use the emo­tion to get more out of every­one, we’re also re­al­is­tic to know that it’s what goes on be­tween the white lines that will get the re­sult and, hope­fully, make it a fairy tale end­ing.

“Waney is leav­ing on his terms and, hope­fully, in glory. For the work he’s done here as a player and coach, long be­fore he was in­volved with the first team, he has been a mas­sive ser­vant to the club and de­serves to go out on a high.”

O’Lough­lin has ap­peared in seven of Wigan’s nine pre­vi­ous Grand Fi­nals and is hop­ing for a fourth win­ners’ ring, which would make up for a bar­ren year in 2017.

“Since 2010, we’ve been a part of more fi­nals than not,” he said. “We’ve been a reg­u­lar fix­ture at the Chal­lenge Cup fi­nal or Grand Fi­nal, it’s kind of ex­pected of us.

“But last year, even though we won the World Club Chal­lenge, the way we fiz­zled out and didn’t fin­ish the sea­son well meant there was a lot of pres­sure go­ing into this year.

“When you’ve won tro­phies and have a sea­son like we did last year, it makes every­one a lit­tle bit more hun­gry to get out there and get the job done the fol­low­ing sea­son. We’ve not been in­volved in the Chal­lenge Cup fi­nal this year and not won the League Lead­ers, so it comes down to this.

“War­ring­ton are in a sim­i­lar boat, they’ve not had any sil­ver­ware so it’s two teams des­per­ate to win and when you’ve got that, you al­ways ex­pect a tough, phys­i­cal game.”

O’Lough­lin, who turns 36 in Novem­ber, will go into to­day’s game with­out a con­tract signed for 2019 but he in­tends to play on. “I’m just sort­ing it at the minute,” he said.

Vet­eran scrum-half Thomas Leu­luai has also an­nounced he will take up the op­tion on his con­tract for next sea­son.

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