When Wigan meet Warrington in their Super League sudden-death play-off tonight, much will depend on the availability of the two club captains.
Wigan had a scare this week when Andy Farrell fell ill but their coach, Mike Gregory, is hopeful he will be fit for their biggest game of the season. Adrian Lam, Terry Newton and Quentin Pongia are all expected to return to the starting line-up, while Warrington's Paul Cullen has named Lee Briers in a squad of 20.
Briers has not played since breaking his wrist 10 weeks ago and there is a theory that he has been named as a smokescreen, and that Cullen will play Graham Appo and Nat Wood, the half-back combination that has served him so well recently.
Wigan, however, are preparing to face the Welsh international. "Lee won't have played for a number of weeks, but it's up to us to make sure we isolate him and really work him over," Gregory said. "Because of his lack of match fitness, he will struggle."
Cullen believes the emotion of last week's final League game at Wilderspool will help Warrington to overcome their lack of big-match experience - a theory Wigan will put to the severest of tests.
The young Wigan scrum-half, Luke Robinson, has been added to the England A squad to play Wales, Russia and Australia this autumn, along with the Castleford full-back, Tom Saxton.
This morning in Australia, the Great Britain forward, Adrian Morley, will be bidding to reach the NRL Grand Final for the second year running, when his Sydney Roosters take on Canterbury. The winners will play the victors of tomorrow's tie between Penrith and the New Zealand Warriors.
Leigh, who play Hull KR in the National League One elimination final tomorrow, are refusing to take no for an answer in their bid to have Salford's Andy Coley cited for an alleged high tackle in their stormy play-off last week. The Rugby League has ruled that there is no case to answer, but Leigh's chief executive, Alan Rowley, has said the club are consulting solicitors.
Alex Murphy, who coached Leigh to the greatest moments of their recent history, has been named as director of rugby. "He has been working one-on-one with players who need encouragement and he will be in charge of talking to them before the match," Rowley said. "We regard Hull KR as the team to beat in this division, because they have beaten Salford, Oldham and Rochdale over three weeks."
Chorley and Keighley are at the same stage in the NL2 play-offs, striving to meet Sheffield Eagles in their Grand Final.