John Kear: Play the game and not the occasion

It is going to be interesting to see how Wigan handle the pressure of expectation.

They haven’t been to Wembley since losing to Sheffield in 1998 and not won the cup since 2002 but are big favourites.

The expectation levels are huge and they are playing a Leeds side whose season is riding on this one game and who will be sore after the way they performed in last year’s final.

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I feel it’s a bit disrespectful to people like Kevin Sinfield, Rob Burrow, Danny McGuire, Danny Buderus and Brent Webb that the bookmakers have them as such major underdogs.

That is a fair old spine to a team and if they play, Wigan could be worried.

Back in ’98, we were very confident at Sheffield of winning the final. Because we’d been written off – like Leeds now – we built a siege mentality and really enjoyed it all.

When we spoke at our team meeting prior to the final we were certain we’d have a great chance of lifting the trophy.

All they had to do was play the game and not the occasion.

We knew if they did that they’d come up trumps and they did.

Leeds have every possibility of doing likewise.

I’m pretty certain their coach will have done a lot of work on Sam Tomkins and Wigan’s movement patterns when he comes in and joins the line.

It’s one thing practicing that, though, and another actually producing it.

Tomkins is a pretty special talent. He is certainly the most exciting current Super League player.

I’d also put Tomkins in one of the top ten most exciting players in the world and it will be fascinating to see him play at Wembley in what could be a great final.