Leeds Rhinos: No better feeling than winning a Grand Final – McGuire

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EVERYTHING WE’VE done for the last 11 months will come down to 80 minutes on Saturday night.

When you start pre-season training in November, the ultimate goal is to be in the final game of the year at Old Trafford.

Jason Robinson who scored the Grand Final winning try for Wigan v Leeds Rhinos in 1998.

Jason Robinson who scored the Grand Final winning try for Wigan v Leeds Rhinos in 1998.

We’ve had a good season and achieved a lot, but it will be disappointing if we don’t come up with the goods against what will be a very good Wigan side.

It has been a good week and everyone’s in a buoyant mood. If you aren’t in good spirits during the week leading up to a Grand Final, you are probably in the wrong job.

We picked up some bumps and bruises against Saints last week, but nothing too serious. We had an extra day on Monday for recovery and to get everybody right and since then preparations have gone well for what is the biggest game of the year.

Everyone is excited, we have trained well and we are looking forward to getting out there tomorrow.

It’s nice to be going back. It is three years since we last played there, but at one time we seemed to be at Old Trafford every year and it was almost like a second home for us.

As a Leeds United fan I feel a bit ashamed to say this, but it is one of the best stadiums I have played at and the atmosphere there is brilliant, especially under lights.

There’s no better feeling than winning a Grand Final. I’ve won and lost at Old Trafford and if you don’t come out on top it is tough to take.

One of the best things about rugby is if you muck up or get things wrong, you’ve usually got the next week to put it right.

After the Grand Final, there isn’t a next week. It’s months before you get chance to put the boots on again and you spend all winter dwelling on what went wrong.

Winning is much more fun. We are in decent shape, we have gone well the last few weeks and we’ve toughed out a couple of close games, so we’re confident we can get the right result.

We know we will have to play well. Wigan are a great team with world-class players and they are in good form.

It’s been nip and tuck with them all year and tomorrow is probably just going to come down to who turns up best on the day and handles the occasion.

I was there in 1998 when Leeds lost to Wigan in the final.

I was sitting 10-15 rows back, behind the posts, right where Jason Robinson scored the winning try.

There was about 45,000 there that night and I remember thinking what a good crowd that was.

It’s a sell-out tomorrow, with another 30,000 in so that shows how far the game has come.

I think everyone has really bought into the Grand Final scenario now and it’s good that it’s the top two teams fighting it out.

Leeds and Wigan have been the best sides this year and both deserve to be in the final.

They’ve been the most consistent all year, there’s not been much between us and I’m sure it will be a good final.

It’s a shame some of our key players will be watching from the stand.

We’ve got four players missing with season-ending injuries, who would be in the team if they were fit.

That’s tough on them and on the team, but I think we’ve managed well all year. It’s just one of those things that comes with the sport.

We have a strong squad that we believe in and whoever takes to the field tomorrow will be capable of getting the job done.

There’ll be a couple of young lads in there, but we’ve got bags of experience and the old hands will make sure the rookies are looked after.

Congratulations to everyone who won something at the Man of Steel awards.

It’s been a few years since we had any success there – and I hope it’s not an omen after 1998 and 2005.

Zak is a good choice as Man of Steel; he has been fantastic all year.

I don’t think anyone could argue with Mac (Brian McDermott) as top coach and it’s testament to everyone at Rhinos that we won club of the year.

Now we need to add the big prize tomorrow night and it will have been just about the perfect season.