Blake Green would happily play through the pain barrier once more if it means he could bow out of Super League on a high.
Wigan’s Australian stand-off suffered a fractured sinus, a badly-cut eye and was given oxygen on the pitch after he was floored by a punch from Ben Westwood just two minutes into last year’s Grand Final against Warrington.
Green looked like a battered boxer but he got up off the canvas to play a key role in Wigan’s stirring 30-16 win over the Wolves, scoring one of his side’s five tries in their fightback to earn the Harry Sunderland Trophy as man of the match.
“It was a great moment, something that no-one can take away from me,” Green said after returning to the scene of his triumph in the build-up to tonight’s Old Trafford clash with St Helens. “I’ll have it forever.
“It was pretty special walking down that tunnel today feeling the same sort of things we felt 12 months ago.”
Victory this time would be especially poignant for former Hull KR star Green, 28, who is playing his final match for the club as he prepares to return to the NRL with Melbourne Storm.
“It’s been at the back of my mind,” Green said. “I’ve been pretty busy – we’ve had some big games over the last month – so I haven’t really talked about it or focused on it. I’ll leave all that until Saturday night or Sunday when it’s all over. I’ll have some time to think about things like that.
“I’ll be emotional, it depends on the result just how emotional.
“It would be a perfect way to finish, I’d certainly take the pain if we get the result.”
Wigan are clear favourites to retain their title but Green, who needs to report for duty with Melbourne on November 5, is expecting a closely-fought contest.
“Saints have been playing really well,” he said. “They’ve been the most consistent team this year by winning the league and they’ve won both their play-off games by big scores. I expect a very tough game. They’ve got a big forward pack and James Roby has been playing great. I think it’s going to be a close game, they always are, these Saints-Wigan derbies.
“Most of the time in these big games it’s whoever handles the occasion the best.”