ALTHOUGH he will try to plot their downfall in tomorrow’s affair, Castleford Tigers boss Daryl Powell was actually playing for Leeds Rhinos in the first Super League Grand Final back in 1998.
The ex-Great Britain international lined up at stand-off for Graham Murray’s team as they took part against Wigan Warriors in the inaugural showpiece.
Leeds, of course, just missed out on claiming the title following a tense 10-4 defeat but Powell – whose current assistant at Castleford Ryan Sheridan was his Rhinos scrum-half that night – can still look back with pride on the performance.
“I do remember it was an unbelievable atmosphere,” he said, even though the attendance was just 43,533.
“They were redeveloping one of the stands at the time but still, when you walked out, the noise really hit you.
Obviously we lost the game so the memories are a little bit subdued in terms of joy, but I still remember it well. It was a really wet night and Jason Robinson ended up winning Wigan the game with his footwork as he did so many times.Daryl Powell
“It was incredible. Obviously we lost the game so the memories are a little bit subdued in terms of joy, but I still remember it well. It was a really wet night and Jason Robinson ended up winning Wigan the game with his footwork as he did so many times.
“We were very disappointed to lose it but it still stands out as a huge part in my career and I really enjoyed the experience.”
Powell – who was 33 at the time – never won a Grand Final as a player but is now preparing to correct that statistic in his first appearance as a coach.
Tomorrow’s game is the 20th Grand Final since play-offs were introduced. Asked if he thought then that the concept would still be going so strong, Powell admitted: “I didn’t have a clue. It’s created so many memories and huge games.
“This game has the hallmarks to be one of the best.”