Riddell wants Wigan-winning farewell - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Riddell wants Wigan-winning farewell

By Nick Clowes 01/10/2010 11:05:40 AM Comments (0)

Departing Wigan hooker Mark Riddell reckons collecting his first Super League ring will be the perfect way to sign off his time in England.

Riddell will return home to Australia following the Super League grand final against Wigan's arch-rivals St Helens at Old Trafford on Saturday after he was released from the final year of his contract in order to care for his ill mother.

The 29-year-old former St George and Parramatta forward has been an integral part of Michael Maguire's squad this season, helping guide Warriors to the league leaders' shield.

For Riddell, who along with ex-Cronulla forward Phil Bailey and former New Zealand Warrior Iafeta Paleaaesina, will be playing his final game for Wigan, victory over north-west derby foes Saints will constitute a fairytale finish.

"I can't think of a better way to say thank you to Wigan than by helping them win the Super League trophy," said Riddell.

"It's going to be an emotional game but I think if we let too much emotion get involved, then we won't perform right.

"We need to manage the emotions. If we can go out there, do our jobs like we know we can, then we should put in a great performance.

"Other than Deacs (halfback Paul Deacon) this is the same squad as last year which I think makes the fact we got to the grand final all the more special.

"It's going to be very tough because there will be the added spice of a local derby in the game as well - neither set of fans will want to lose bragging rights.

"We beat a very good Leeds side to get here so we desperately don't want to fall at the final hurdle."

Meanwhile, fellow Aussie Matt Gidley should be having nightmares about another Old Trafford appearance - but the former Newcastle centre believes now is his time to shine on the big stage with Saints.

In the three years he has played in England, the 33-year-old has finished each season with a grand final defeat against Leeds Rhinos.

This will be Gidley's fourth consecutive final - the fifth of his career after winning the NRL title with the Knights in 2001 - and he admits it's high time his luck in England changed.

"I haven't got a great record in grand finals but I think it shows that this team is pretty special to get to five consecutive finals," said Gidley, who will also return home to Australia following Saturday's showpiece.

"It'll be my last match so I really want to go out on a high. Grand final week is always exciting and everyone is looking forward to the final.

"In the last couple of years it hasn't quite gone right for us in the final but that doesn't stop us being confident this time around.

"To win big games everyone has to contribute something and that's what we have done in the play-off games against Warrington and Huddersfield to get here.

"We've got one more big game to come up and we'll need the same again."

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