SAINTS player of the year Jonny Lomax was still sporting a shiner and nine stitches when he attended the Grand Final press conference on Monday.

But after describing his swollen cheekbone as initially looking like a mask from The Purge film, Lomax said nothing would have stopped him running out this weekend for his third Grand Final.

And in doing so he will come face-to-face with Steve Prescott Man of Steel Jackson Hastings.

The Wigan-bound Salford half back has twice name-checked Lomax’s form when receiving plaudits for his own displays.

Although that sportsmanship is noted, could there be a bit of psychology there from the game’s top player?

Lomax said: “Jackson Hastings said something about my performance and I acknowledged what he said but told him if it was still down to the players vote then he would have got mine.

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“He has got Man of Steel for a reason – it is because he has been the talisman for the club and been fantastic. His performances week to week have been phenomenal.

“And with that performance comes pressure.

“Sometimes the media hype and pressure and maybe a deflector could be quite handy so there may be some psychology there too.

“But he’s definitely a worthy winner in my eyes – tag he definitely deserves.”

Lomax is in the form of his career this term - but he is under no illusions of the test facing the side this week.

Lomax said: “It is going to be a monumental challenge. They have quality 1-17 and you only have to look at their outside backs to see why they are playing so well.”

“They have Grand Finalists and winners, players with experience like Tyrone McCarthy, Lee Mossop and Mark Flanagan.

“They are a quality outfit and in some ways Ian Watson has done a fantastic job but he has made them realise their potential.

"They have Grand Final winners in that team, and we have some ourselves and that is why it is such an even contest leading into Salford.

"Everyone sets out to win the same things Cup, League Leaders Shield and Grand Final – they set out for those goals

We have had some right tussles with Salford this year and previous years.

"That is what the game is about.

"They could have had coach of the year with the Man of Steel and that shows how good a team they are."