Too close to call
Whisper it quietly in Yorkshire but Wigan against St Helens is probably the Super League Grand Final most people wanted.
Saturday's Old Trafford contest is certainly one for the romantics. Wigan against Saints is arguably the game's fiercest rivalry. They are the top two teams, too, having finished first and second in the table over the regular season.
I was commentating at Headingley last Saturday and the growing frustration from the home fans in the South Stand made me wonder if we were watching the changing of the guard at Leeds.
Wigan's hungry young stars, brilliantly moulded into a formidable defensive beast by Super League coach of the Year Michael Maguire, devoured the vulnerable Super League champions after a flawless three-year reign.
Yet for all that hyperbole, these same Warriors who swept the board at the Man of Steel awards night know they may end the season with nothing.
Before the awards ceremony on Monday, I had spent Sunday afternoon in Warrington in the company of St Helens forward Jon Wilkin, who will attempt to deny Wigan the title this weekend and end his side's own run of three successive Grand Final defeats in the process, and Saints great Paul Sculthorpe.
We had popped along to the Co-operative Championship Grand Finals day at the Halliwell Jones to "entertain" the hospitality crowd as they tucked into their Sunday roast. Most of the talk was already about that Wigan-Saints showdown a week later.
Wilkin was nursing a badly swollen hand, having picked up the injury in that win over the Giants, and had to leave early for a scan to assess the damage. Before he departed, he told me no matter what the outcome he would be lining up at Old Trafford.
There were six sets of nervous players walking around Warrington on Grand Finals day - with the Conference and two Championship finals played back to back.
So how do players react to a day, like this weekend, when a whole season's work is judged over 80 minutes? If you have never experienced a Grand Final, let me tell you that you will never suffer nerves like it if you are supporting one of the teams involved.
"I'll be honest, I'm petrified before kick-off," Wilkin told me. "My mind goes a little bid mad so I do tend to sit there lost in my own thoughts.
"I'm one of those players who hates iPods, so I can't be doing with team-mates sitting there with earplugs in. As for Scully, he was the kind of player who would spend his time pre-match shaving his legs and making himself look beautiful!"
I asked the Saints pair if they were pleased Wigan were providing the opposition in the final rather than Leeds, who have proved their nemesis in the last three Grand Finals. Both agreed they would have wanted Saints to have another crack at the Rhinos.
"Wigan will be great because it's a derby but it will be tougher than facing Leeds because the Warriors are the best side this year," added Wilkin. "I wanted Leeds again. We could have beaten them and put talk of a hoodoo to bed."
Sculthorpe told me me he is a bad observer of big games like this and will not be going to Old Trafford this weekend, opting instead for a house party with his mates. But he still reckons Saints can prevail.
After our question and answer session, we sat down for a pre-match Sunday lunch. It was during this dinner that we were informed by a Rugby Football League representative that former Great Britain hooker Terry Newton had been found hanged, months after he had been handed a two-year ban for using a performance-enhancing drug.
It was an absolutely horrible moment. No-one spoke for a good few minutes, there were no words, just blank, pale empty stares. Sky Sports pundit Mike Stephenson went white as a sheet and pushed his meal to one side. Scully had to call his brother Danny, who lives just a couple of doors from Terry's house in Wigan and was great mates with the former Wigan hooker.
When the silence was broken, the discussion immediately focused on how it could have happened. Could the RFL have done more to support Terry after his drugs ban? Could the rugby league family have done more? Could any of us have actually known just how bad things were in Terry's mind?
On a personal note, it was also an afternoon where I hated being a journalist. This was real life, a horrendous tragedy affecting so many people I know. It was not a moment to be thinking if I should be contacting the office to alert them to a big story.
There will be a minute's silence for 'Tez' at the Grand Final and I'm confident the two teams will produce the kind of contest fitting of the man the sport has lost: fearless, competitive and bruising.
Terry was a troubled man but a brilliant player. I hope that is how he will be remembered.
Saturday's match should be a blockbuster but there will be nerves on both sides. Wigan, like St Helens, have lost their last three Grand Finals, although the last of those defeats came in 2003.
So can Saints win it without the worryingly injury-prone Kyle Eastmond, or will Sam Tomkins run riot in his illuminous yellow boots?
Then there is the Keiron Cunningham factor. The Saints great signed off with the last ever try at Knowsley Road and is unlikely to leave Old Trafford quietly.
A quick straw poll of a dozen neutral Super League players via text message returned a 7-5 verdict in favour of Saints. Ask the bookies and Wigan are odds-on favourites.
I'm more than happy to take my place on the fence for this one as I can't call it. At the start of the week, I thought Saints - with Cunningham, Paul Wellens and James Graham - would be too wily, too clever for the still inexperienced Tomkins brothers. Now I'm wondering whether that Wigan youth could provide too much sparkle for Saints.
What's your view?