Gary Connolly: Hock could be the ace in the pack for Wigan

Having played for both, this is the final I wanted – Wigan v Leeds.

If I’m honest, I’d probably prefer Wigan to win as I spend most of my time over here now but it won’t be as easy as some think.

Everybody in Wigan I speak to says the same as me – if they are to win, they have to play really well especially as Leeds lost last year.

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I saw Sam Tomkins against Bradford last week and he was phenomenal but I don’t think Leeds – who have some real quality of their own – will give him that much space. The key is to keep the ball away from him.

Everyone’s talking about Tomkins as Man of Steel but if Gaz Hock plays, I think he could be the one who might turn the game in Wigan’s favour with his strong runs and off-loads up the middle.

I played in the last two Wigan v Leeds finals in 1994 and 1995.

It was my first two seasons with Wigan and both matches were extremely hard, especially for me – I had to mark Kevin Iro so I had my hands full each time!

My memory of Martin Offiah’s try in ’94, when he went the length of the field and rounded Alan Tait, is vivid.

But, whenever I see him, I always remind Martin I set it up. He asks how? It was me who got tackled initially 10 metres from our line and if I hadn’t, he would never have had that chance!

He has that try on his phone. Shows it to everyone. But if I’d have scored it I think I would, too.

It was mixed emotions for me in 2003. I won the Lance Todd Trophy with Leeds against Bradford but lost the game.

The disappointing thing was we were the better side and it’s probably the most dejected I’ve ever been after any final.