The rugby league masses descend upon Old Trafford this weekend where Wigan Warriors will take on the Warrington Wolves, each with massive stakes on the line.
For The Wire, victory would mean securing redemption for the final they lost to Leeds Rhinos this time last year, whereas Wigan are hoping to win an illustrious cup double.
The Challenge Cup holders head into this Saturday’s meeting on an even par with the Wolves, with the fixture set to be decided by the smallest of margins and individual matchups.
What: Wigan Warriors vs. Warrington Wolves
Where: Old Trafford, Manchester
When: Saturday, September 5
Time: 6 p.m. Local Time (BST)
Viewing Info: Sky Sports 2 (UK, coverage begins at 5 p.m. BST)
Stream: SkyGo (Subscription required)
Pat Richards vs. Joel Monaghan
Two Australians looking to leave totally different marks on their clubs, Pat Richards goes to Old Trafford with the hope of winning his second Super League title while Joel Monaghan is still looking for his and Warrington’s first.
This weekend is as good an opportunity as any for the latter to upset his compatriot, with Richards set to head back to the NRL in time for the 2014 season, where he’ll join up with the Wests Tigers.
Richards will want to leave Super League rugby on the best terms possible and, as well as giving Shaun Wane’s side an irrepressible figure from his boot, will need to ensure one of the Wolves’ strongest playmakers is restricted in his input.
Liam Farrell vs. Ben Westwood
This season has seen Liam Farrell rise to the fore in his Wigan responsibilities, scoring 12 tries in 26 appearances for the club and overcoming any and all boundaries he had previously set.
One of the strongest assets in the Warriors’ pack, it would take an object of equal force to stop him, which is where Ben Westwood comes in.
Big Ben is somewhat of a liability when it comes to discipline, as Opta has pointed out over on Twitter, but is mobile for his size and will be essential in meeting Wigan’s assault head on.
28 - Second row Ben Westwood conceded 28 penalties in @SuperLeague XVIII (regular season) - nobody else conceded more. Exposed.— OptaJonny (@OptaJonny) October 1, 2013
The 32-year-old back-rower is bound to clash against Farrell in the loose play where this particular battle will be won and lost.
Matty Smith vs. Richie Myler
After being selected as Man of the Match for Wigan’s Challenge Cup final victory over Hull FC, Matty Smith is going for the prestigious honour of being the first man ever to win the award in both domestic finals.
The most direct obstacle in that pursuit will be Smith’s opposite man, Richie Myler, who was originally a doubt for the post-season matches after suffering a knee injury in August.
The half-back rivals will seek to ensure their backs are each equipped with fast ball when needed and will look to assert some dominance in the kicking game, too, depending on conditions.