Mossop eyes perfect send-off
England forward Lee Mossop is dreaming of a fairytale ending to his Wigan Warriors career after helping them reach next Saturday's Super League Grand Final.
The Warriors secured a derby duel with Warrington Wolves at Old Trafford by overcoming 2012 champions Leeds Rhinos 22-12 in Friday's second semi-final at the DW Stadium and, after lifting the Challenge Cup last month, are on course to complete a rare double.
It was a fitting way for Mossop, his England-team Sam Tomkins and Australian winger Pat Richards to mark their final home appearances and now they have the chance to bow out on a high as they prepare for moves to the NRL.
"It would be a fairytale ending to do the double with my best mates and leave Wigan on the back of two finals wins," said the 24-year-old Mossop, who was in the side that beat Hull FC 16-0 at Wembley and is joining Parramatta after the World Cup.
"I don't want to get too far ahead and jinx myself but I can't help stop thinking how good a send-off that would be.
"We know how hard that's going to be but, if we can complete our sets a bit better and defend anything like we did against Leeds, we will give ourselves a great chance."
Friday's win, sealed by winger Josh Charnley's 42nd try of the season, helped make up for the disappointment of Wigan's defeat by Leeds in the semi-finals of each of the competitions last year.
"To finish my last game here with a loss would have been the worst possible ending," Mossop added. "Luckily we got that win and we're through to the final now.
"We've one week's more preparation and hopefully we can get that fairytale ending."
Warrington, who lost to Leeds in last year's Grand Final, are the bookmakers' favourites to go one step further after their 30-22 win over Huddersfield Giants in the first semi-final with a performance which impressed Mossop.
"I think they were pretty similar to us," he said. "It was really tight in the first 20 minutes, then two quick tries gave them a bit of breathing space but Huddersfield stuck with them and it was a proper arm-wrestle semi-final which you expect.
"They're going to be battle-hardened for next week, like we are."
Wigan will be able to draw on their 2010 experience of winning at Old Trafford but Mossop does not believe that will give his side any advantage.
"I got asked the same question about the Challenge Cup final when we played Hull and, to be honest, I don't think it really matters," he said.
"When it comes to the final, it's do or die and everthing is put on a plate for that game.
"If you don't turn up, you don't get a second chance. It will be the team that turns up and completes the best that gets the win."
Wigan coach Shaun Wane is convinced his side are better prepared this year after he learned lessons from mistakes he made in 2012, which was his first season as head coach.
"I hold my hand up," Wane said. "I flogged them last year.
"I've tried to rest players and we've approached our training sessions in a different manner towards the back end of the season because it's a tough old year.
"We've looked after the players a bit better and they were saying they felt really fresh going into the Leeds game.
"Going into the same game last year, they didn't feel fresh. We've fixed that and we can give ourselves a chance of being fresh next week and putting a performance in.
"At the end of the day, we're in two cup finals this year and we were fourth in the competition so it's been fairly good but it will be even better with a win next week."