Monaghan hopes three's a charm
Michael Monaghan is hoping it will be third time lucky for him as Warrington Wolves seek to end a 58-year-old wait for a league title in Saturday evening's Grand Final against Wigan Warriors.
The 33-year-old Australian hooker or half-back, now in his sixth season of Super League, lost a Grand Final with Manly Sea Eagles in 2007 and was on the losing side 12 months ago when the Wolves went down to Leeds Rhinos.
Tony Smith's side are the marginal favourites to go one step further this time and Monaghan admits victory at Old Trafford would finally confirm Warrington's arrival as a major force.
"We've had a pretty good few years - Challenge Cups, League Leaders' Shield, Grand Final last year," Monaghan said.
"We have definitely got the experience, pretty much all of our squad have in big games. We would certainly like to tick this one off. It is the one thing we haven't achieved in the last few years.
"Having missed out on the Challenge Cup final, it would have been pretty disappointing not to have got to one of these big games this year. We are really excited and looking forward to Saturday."
The Warrington players will wear black armbands in memory of the last player to lift the league trophy, Albert Naughton, who was their captain in 1955 but passed away a week ago, and Monaghan likens the club's long wait for the title to the recent ending of their Challenge Cup drought.
"It is similar to 2009," Monaghan said, referring to the first of three Wembley wins in four years. "We hadn't won the cup in 40-odd years.
"It is a rugby town and the Wolves are the main attraction. There would be nothing better than to lift the trophy and bring it back to Warrington to celebrate with the fans."
Wigan will have the advantage of having won at Old Trafford in 2010 but Monaghan believes last year's defeat, in their maiden Grand Final, could work in their favour.
"I hope so," he said. "It is a different preparation to what you have for any other game, so we're hoping having been through it last year that that will help.
"But it doesn't guarantee anything. Learning lessons doesn't mean we'll get to win. It is going to come down to us playing better than them for 80 minutes. That is the job for us."