Tommy Makinson is taking nothing for granted as St Helens aim to win their first Betfred Super League title in five years at Old Trafford on Saturday.
Saints will go into the game as the overwhelming favourites after a season of unrivalled success in which they topped the regular league phase by 16 points and lost on only three occasions.
They also will face a Salford Red Devils side who, for all their remarkable success and the great underdog story behind them, will be massive underdogs and should, if the game was played on paper, lose comfortably.
However, rugby league is not played on paper and Saints winger Makinson is expecting a fierce fight for the crown.
“We can’t get distracted, Salford are there on merit and have beaten some of the best teams, they’ve played really well for a long period now,” Makinson said speaking at the Betfred Super League Awards where he won the Top Try-Scorer award for his 23 tries across the campaign.
“I think people look over how much talent is in their team. They’re not a team of misfits, they’ve got some players with big experience and Jackson Hastings has been the key in that, he’s been brilliant.
“It’s going to be a colossal game and it’s going to be the toughest one we could have had.”
Makinson is a St Helens veteran of well over 200 appearances and knows just how tough the wait has been for another Betfred Super League title.
The past couple of seasons have brought two agonising near misses with semi-final defeats to Warrington Wolves and Castleford Tigers, the latter particularly tough to take given defeat came in golden-point extra time.
However, the 27-year-old firmly believes the current St Helens crop have the ability to end the duck and deal with the pressure of the biggest stage when game time rolls around at Old Trafford.
He added: “We prepare this week just like any other game. You try and keep it the same but you know in the back of your head it’s the biggest game of the year.
“Looking at Old Trafford now makes the hairs on the back of my neck stand up so I can’t wait.
“We could have had a few more guys up for a big award this year, we’ve had so many consistent performers. Jonny Lomax is the one, he’s been a massive part of our year.
“We’ve also had Lachlan Coote, Luke Thompson. We’ve got big players all over the shop and when they stand up, we usually perform.”
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