Richards targets Wigan grand final - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Richards targets Wigan grand final

By James Martin 26/09/2010 11:19:09 AM Comments (0)

Pat Richards is setting his sights on a Super League grand final revenge mission after helping Wigan see off reigning champions Leeds to book a clash with St Helens on Saturday.

The 28-year-old - who enjoyed spells at both the Parramatta Eels and Wests Tigers - played a starring role at Headingley by booting five goals to help Wigan win 26-6.

However, it was initially harder than the scoreline suggested with Richards' opening goal in the 15th minute cancelled out by Kevin Sinfield's converted try three minutes later.

But that was as good as it got for the Rhinos with the Warriors scoring four unanswered tries - Darrell Goulding, Joel Tomkins, Martin Gleeson and former Newcastle Knight George Carmont all crossing.

Wigan won the first ever grand final in 1998 seeing off Leeds 10-4 but have faltered three times since - twice to Bradford in 2001 and 2003 and once to St Helens in 2000.

And with that in mind Richards, who has seen Wigan win and lose to the Saints this season, is eyeing a change in fortunes against the four-time winners at Old Trafford next weekend.

"We just sat in there against Leeds because we all know what a good side they are," said Richards. "The boys just kept plugging away and we showed our desire.

"We have been defending well all year and towards the end of the season and on the bigger stages where games really mean something that is crucial.

"We have a great bunch of guys at the club at the moment and we have wanted to play St Helens again and we are all pleased that we now have the chance to do so.

"Going to Old Trafford is going to be a great occasion and a great day out for everyone. I can't wait for it and hopefully we can come out on top."

Meanwhile Huddersfield captain Brett Hodgson believes retiring St Helens hooker Keiron Cunningham deserves to end his career with a grand final win after his inspirational display in St Helens' 42-22 win over the Giants.

The former Wests star looked like he was helping cause a huge upset as Huddersfield led 22-18 after the restart but Cunningham's return from the bench turned the last match at Knowsley Road on its head.

Cunningham completed the stunning comeback with Saints' seventh try and Hodgson hailed the 33-year-old's sterling service to the game.

"There are some players around that you think deserve a fairytale ending and Keiron is one of those guys because he has been such a legend of the game," said Hodgson, who will now head for new club Warrington.

"I knew of him back in Australia before I came over here and without being disrespectful to whoever St Helens play it would be good for the game if Keiron ended with a win."

And St Helens coach Mick Potter, who will leave Saints for Bradford next season, admits Cunningham will be sorely missed once he hangs up his boots.

Former St George fullback Potter said: "He's been fantastic for a very long time and one more good win would be the icing on the cake for him."

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