Written by John Davidson
Sam Powell will play for Wigan Warriors in the Super League grand final, but Ben Flower has been ruled out by injury.
Wigan coach Adrian Lam has confirmed that Powell will be available for his team, after missing Thursday’s semi-final victory over Hull FC. But it is bad news for prop Flower who is unavailable with a hamstring complaint.
Flower has signed for Leigh for 2021 and has now played his last game for the Warriors.
“Sam’s fit this week but it’s not a conundrum, he’ll play,” Lam said.
“Sam’s been the heartbeat of our team in the past 12 months. He’s been one of the best nines in the competition. He’s a leader of our group.”
Lam will need to decide whether he goes with a back-up playmaker on the bench or not, after Jackson Hastings started at hooker last week and youngster Harry Smith started in the halves alongside Thomas Leuluai.
Or Wigan could go with four forwards on the bench with the likes of George Burgess, Liam Byrne, Mitch Clark and Romaine Navarette in contention for the vacant spot.
The cover of the 2020 #GrandFinal programme 😍🏆
— Betfred Super League (@SuperLeague) November 24, 2020
Friday’s grand final will be Wigan captain Sean O’Loughlin’s last in his long career. The 38-year-old is retiring and Lam actually played with O’Loughlin when he debuted as a teenager back in 2002.
“I remember at the Cup final at 2002 and he was 18th man,” the Australian said.
“I was fortunate to play with him when he made his debut. What he’s done for this great club, if you had to model a club around a person, Sean O’Loughlin is the player you would do that.
“He’s got the respect of his peers.”
With first-placed Wigan taking on defending champions and second-placed St Helens in Hull in the decider, Lam is expecting a fierce and entertaining battle in what has been an extraordinary and unusual season.
“It’s been a difficult year,” the 50-year-old admitted.
“[But] I’ve thoroughly enjoyed the year. I’ve learned a lot about myself and the game. I’ve loved it.
“Both towns have love/hate relationship that goes back a long time. It’s been a long time going [the grand final]. I think the game will be as good as a game we’ve seen all season.”