Grand Final veteran Rob Burrow is aiming to finish a rollercoaster season on a high this evening.
Burrow, Harry Sunderland man of the match winner in Leeds’ 2007 and 2011 Grand Final victories, says a seventh success, against Wigan Warriors at Old Trafford, would make his disappointment at the start of the year a distant memory.
Burrow, who signed a two-year contract extension in May, was left out of Rhinos’ second and third games of the campaign and has been a substitute for 18 of his 29 appearances this year.
He admitted he has found it tough having to play a bit-part role at times, but the frustration would be worth it for another winner’s ring and a place in club history.
“It has been a crazy year,” Burrow reflected. “I have had a few crazy years recently, to be fair. It has been a real low personally, at times, but I’d like to think I have contributed when given the opportunity.
“By injuries and things like that I have been given a shot towards the end and I just want to do my best for the team.
“That’s all I have ever thought about and it’s all anyone ever thinks about at Leeds, the team winning.
“I am confident and I am happy with my form going into this final and I am going to give it my best shot.”
Burrow added: “When you are not playing in games, it is tough. Apart from your family, it is probably the biggest part of your life, so when it’s not going well, it does have an effect on you.
“But you just have to be confident and confident in your ability and what has worked for you in the past.
“I have always done that and I always believe I have got a lot to offer this team. That is what I am going to focus on this weekend.”
A win this evening would complete Leeds’ first clean-sweep of trophies. Burrow reckons Wigan are the toughest-possible opponents, but he feels it is a fitting finale to the closest season in the summer era.
“They are physical, that’s their big standout,” he said of today’s opoposition. “They are a very physical team and a very dominant team, so obviously that has to be combated, but at the same time, they will review us and we need to be good at what they think we’ll be good at.
“We need to play well, no matter what the other team does, if we play our best that’ll all you can ask. I think it’s the final everybody wanted. It will generate the biggest crowd and it’ll be a great end to what’s been a fantastic, exciting season.
“In our play-offs and over in the NRL I think rugby league generally has had a fantastic season for a number of reasons and there’s no more fitting end to it than a Leeds against Wigan final.”
Wigan have been in better form over the second half of the campaign, but Leeds are on the back of tough wins against Huddersfield and St Helens and Burrow hopes that will stand them in good stead.
“It has been a tough few weeks for us as a team, but at the same time, we are battle-hardened,” he said. “We’ve had a few dips, but the last few games have been just what we needed. We are not battered and bruised, we are just battle-hardened, ready for this final. The last couple of weeks have been absolutely fantastic and ideal for us.”
Former Leeds Rhinos forward Alex Foster has signed for London Broncos after spending 2015 with Featherstone Rovers. He was at London on loan last year.