Adam Cuthbertson: Cracking Grand Final weekend ahead, especially for the Rhinos

Leeds' Courtney Hill with Wigan's Sean O'Loughlin, Warrington's Chris Hill and Wigan's Gemma Walsh with the Betfred Super League Trophy.
Leeds' Courtney Hill with Wigan's Sean O'Loughlin, Warrington's Chris Hill and Wigan's Gemma Walsh with the Betfred Super League Trophy.
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AT THE start of the season, just after I’d begun as Leeds Rhinos women’s team coach, I remember Gary Hetherington coming up to me and saying – tongue in cheek I think – ‘If you have a couple of losses in a row we will have to consider your position’.

I hope my job’s safe for next year, but we will be going all out to win tomorrow’s Grand Final, against Wigan, just in case.

Leeds Rhinos women.

Leeds Rhinos women.

It would be absolutely brilliant to do the treble in our first season.

When we lost to Castleford in our only pre-season game there was a bit of uncertainty about how we would go.

I always had the utmost confidence in the girls coming good, but I did think it might have taken us a few weeks and we could have slipped down the ladder first.

Fortunately we seemed to click really well, we got a few things right in how we wanted to play and that put us in good stead to win the league leaders’ shield.

The first Grand Final was 20 years ago and there’s only been four winners – Leeds, Wigan, Bradford and Saints – so it’s about time somebody else joined that club.

Adam Cuthbertson

We had a good run in the Challenge Cup as well and to do the treble would be outstanding as well as a bit unexpected as a new team.

I am confident the girls will give a good account of themselves. We had a good win in the semi-final last weekend.

We weren’t convincing in the first half, but the girls showed when they knuckle down and are ruthless in carrying out the game plan they can do anything.

We were 6-0 down at half-time to a good Cas team and it is not easy to get a win from that situation, but the girls really dug in and they came out in the second half and put 24 points on them.

Leeds Rhinos chief executive Gary Hetherington.

Leeds Rhinos chief executive Gary Hetherington.

That really showed the character of the side.

I have trained them really hard and we have not taken our foot off the pedal. We’ve put a lot of emphasis on how fit we are and the tempo we can keep throughout the 80 minutes and that is starting to pay off now.

It is the two best teams in the final.

Wigan challenged us a bit with their ball movement the last time we played them and they have been getting better and better so it should make for an interesting game. We both play a bit differently so it will come down to who tactically can come out on top. I’d urge as many Rhinos and neutral fans as possible to get along to the final which is at Manchester Regional Arena and kicks off at 1pm.

It’s only £5 admission for adults and the club are running coach travel for £10. It would be fantastic to see all you Rhinos fans there.

The winning team will be going over to Old Trafford for the men’s final afterwards.

That, I think, is going to be a cracking game. The semi-finals last weekend were brilliant and produced probably some of the best rugby we’ve seen all year.

I think they showed the value of carrying the season on and having sudden-death games at the end.

Warrington were resilient to stay in the game and fight back when it looked like Saints might be getting on top. It is brilliant for their players and coaching staff and they will be wanting redemption for losing in 2016 and coming up short at Wembley this year.

They under-performed that day and I’d expect them to have learned lessons from that.

On the flip side, Wigan are like a team possessed at the moment. They have stormed through the Super-8s and the way they defended against Cas last week, for the full 80, was fantastic.

I think the autumn conditions really suit Wigan and they play a no-nonsense style of rugby. They taught Cas a lesson in how to play in October. It was a great display and it is shaping up to be a brilliant final. Personally, now I am studying sports business at uni, I would like to see Warrington take it out. I feel there needs to be a new winner’s name on the trophy.

That is important for the game to continue and grow. Success for a different club pushes the game in the right direction. We saw that when New Zealand won the World Cup and ended Australia’s dominance.

The first Grand Final was 20 years ago and there’s only been four winners – Leeds, Wigan, Bradford and Saints – so it’s about time somebody else joined that club, though I wouldn’t be saying that if we were there this year!