Salford Red Devils have had to come back down to earth after their spectacular semi-final victory as they prepare for a historic Betfred Super League Grand Final, according to hooker Joey Lussick.
It has been a truly remarkable season for the 150/1 outsiders, considered, by some commentators, far more likely to be relegated than battling for the title at the start of the season.
The Red Devils have fought against the odds to defy the established sides and put themselves 80 minutes away from a first top flight crown in over four decades with a number of unbelievable victories.
The latest chapter in the story on Friday evening saw Ian Watson’s side triumph in thrilling fashion 28-4 against Wigan Warriors to reach their first Betfred Super League Grand Final, a result which Lussick admits has taken some time for Salford to get over.
“I think, yes and no it’s going to be difficult to ground ourselves again,” he said speaking at the Betfred Super League Awards.
“Having the weekend off has allowed the boys to calm down and come back down to reality but, saying that, it’s one last game so there’s no reason why we can’t get back up.
“I’m so excited for the Grand Final, it’s something you dream of as a kid.
“It’s why you play rugby league, to reach a Grand Final, and we’re really excited as a team.”
Standing in their way at Old Trafford on Saturday is the might of St Helens.
Saints were utterly dominant in the league phase, finishing 16 points clear of runners-up Wigan and only losing three times in their pursuit of a first title in five years.
They will also be looking to provide a perfect send-off to departing head coach Justin Holbrook who leaves the club following Saturday’s final to join NRL side Gold Coast Titans.
As for Salford, though, they are content with once again facing a stiff uphill battle as they aim to secure a fairy tale ending to one of the most remarkable Super League seasons to date.
Lussick added: “A lot of people had us in that bottom end of the table at the start of the season, fighting to avoid relegation with London [Broncos] but we really knew we had a strong squad, it was just a matter of finding balance and consistency.
“Any underdog story is going to be massive, as a group we can’t thank the town and the fans enough for the journey we’ve been on.
“I’ve been pretty happy this season. We started well but as a team dipped, and I take responsibility for that as well, but we’ve come home strong and I’m really looking forward to that one last game.
“We’ve been underdogs every game this whole year so it’s nothing we’re not used to. We’re going to give it our all and leave everything on the field.”
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
Grand Final team news and stats
St Helens coach Justin Holbrook has named an unchanged squad for his final match in charge. His only decision is whether to stick with hooker Aaron Smith on the bench or go instead with Joseph Paulo or James Bentley.
Salford coach Ian Watson will stick with the team that won at Wigan, with hooker Josh Wood and prop Josh Johnson the ones to drop out of his 19-man squad. Hooker Logan Tomkins will make his 200th career appearance.
Last season: No corresponding fixture.
Last six league matches: St Helens W W W W W W Salford W W W L W W.
Top try scorers: Tommy Makinson (St Helens) 23; Niall Evalds (Salford) 22.
Top goal scorers: Lachlan Coote (St Helens) 114; Krisnan Inu (Salford) 116.