Holding your nerve is vital on the unique stage that is the Betfred Super League Grand Final, according to legendary half-back Danny McGuire.
The Leeds Rhinos and Hull KR stalwart scrum half knows a thing or two about how to win the Super League title, having claimed the crown on no less than eight separate occasions.
As St Helens and Salford Red Devils get set to do battle at Old Trafford on Saturday, McGuire believes maintaining composure will be key to the direction of the ultimate prize.
“There’s a lot of pressure with a Grand Final, it’s a totally different occasion to anything you come across throughout the year,” said McGuire, speaking at the Betfred Super League Awards.
“You need to keep your nerve and you need 17 performers on the day to win, it’s about the team which carries their game out the best on the day.”
The culmination of the 33-week season at the weekend will end one of the most storied Super League campaigns in recent times.
— Leeds Rhinos (@leedsrhinos) September 13, 2019
Salford have taken the sport to new heights by embarking on the ultimate underdog story, going from one of the favourites for relegation to grand finalists against all odds.
Meanwhile, St Helens have dominated the competition like very few have before by losing only three games in the entire campaign and topping the table by a whopping 16 points.
Saturday’s showpiece will be David versus Goliath in front of thousands of fans in a fitting conclusion to the season.
McGuire added: “Salford are a great story, not many people would have predicted their rise this year and Saints have been first class all season.
“Saints have got some experienced players so I think they’ll deal with the pressure fine. They’ve probably been the best team in Super League for a while and they deserve to win the final for how they’ve played but we’ve seen stranger things happen.
“Saints are littered with quality players but Salford are tenacious and very determined so it’s a really exciting matchup.
“The Salford story has been really good for the sport. They were probably one of the favourites for relegation but it just shows you what togetherness and a good coach can achieve.
“Everybody loves a giant killer don’t they, everybody wants the smaller team to succeed.
“We’ve played against them four or five times this year and they’re a tough outfit, they work hard for each other.
“Jackson Hastings has been absolutely quality all season, he’s one of the best players in the competition, but one of their qualities is their team ethic and that can take you a long way.”
Ultimately though, despite their well-publicised rise, McGuire sees Salford falling short at the final hurdle.
“I think Saints will be too strong, they’ve got too much quality and too much experience in the big games.”
The Betfred Super League Grand Final is the biggest night in Super League and takes place at Old Trafford, the iconic home of Manchester United on Saturday 12 October (6pm KO). Secure your seat by visiting https://www.superleague.co.uk/tickets/grand-final