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Semi-final will take intensity up another notch
SAINTS will have to step it up a notch from the way they played a fortnight ago at Warrington if they are to scale the last hurdle to a seventh successive Super League Grand Final.
Victory over the Wolves last time around may have booked Saints a week off, earned home advantage and given them a massive confidence boost that they can beat the best – but Saturday’s do-or-die tussle will be a different ball game altogether.
The desperation and hunger that comes through every pore at this time of the year will be there to the fore in front of what promises to be a cauldron like atmosphere at Langtree Park.
Both sides have plenty of motivation – with Saints’ desire coming from a need to get to the Theatre of Dreams to wipe away the nightmares of five previous years.
For Wolves there is a real desperation to get to Old Trafford for the first time since the inception of the Grand Final format and so shake off the tag of perennial play-off flops.
Saints boss Mike Rush anticipates a response from the opposition – not simply because of the way they buried them in the 28-6 rout last time around.
Rush said: “It will be a different game because they have international players across the board that want to play in a Grand Final.
“It is not like last time because at the back of both teams’ minds then was that they would get a second chance.
“Both teams know now that if you lose you are out and that changes both teams’ mindset.”
Wigan Chairman Ian Lenagan picked Leeds in Sunday’s club call, which paired Saints with the Wolves again, and in doing so handed out some motivation with the talk that people “wanted to see a Wigan v Warrington Grand Final”.
Rush said: “The Wigan chairman on Sunday very graciously said he expected a Wigan v Warrington Grand Final – so despite winning last time we are still under the radar and there is still this view that Warrington will turn up and roll us over.
“So that suits us still being the underdogs.”