9th October 2018, 12:59 | super_league
Ben Westwood may have over 200 more appearances over his counterpart in the Grand Final, John Bateman, but the two are equally valuable in their sides quest for Grand Final victory.
The match-up looms as the lead-up to the Grand Final continues, and the experienced Westwood believes that the pack and an effective kick game will be key to victory in the Old Trafford showpiece.
“Like all big games, it’s going to be decided down the middle. Whoever gets on top in the forwards, usually comes out on top.
“I think the kicking game is really important, our kickers are going to need to be good” said Westwood.
Super League Grand Final: @johnbateman1 vs Ben Westwood!— Betfred Super League (@SuperLeague) October 9, 2018
"He’s (Shaun Wane) a fantastic bloke, for him to walk out at the Grand Final will be a dream ending.”
Read more 👉 https://t.co/yzmwk051ty pic.twitter.com/cmDtfTLjWk
Bateman heralded the work of outgoing coach Shaun Wane, who oversees his last game in a career at Wigan lasting over 30 years.
“He’s always helped us, on the field or off the field. He’s a fantastic bloke, for him to walk out at the Grand Final will be a dream ending.”
Man of Steel nominee Bateman will be lining up in Cherry & White for the last time on Saturday.
Bateman’s work off the ball is demonstrated by an impressive 618 tackles, and with Bateman only missing 6.64% of his tackles in 2018, his defensive efficiency will be pivotal in overcoming the Warrington running game.
He is matched by Westwood, missing just 6.61% of his tackles this year. Forming a core defensive unit for the Wolves; Westwood, Clark, Hughes, Hill & Cooper contributed 45% of the Wolves total tackles in 2018, and his 692 tackles have been key to this.
Bateman has scored 4 tries this year, assisting 3, and has notched up the 2nd most metres in the squad, with a remarkable 3150, seventh overall in Super League.
The battle between Westwood’s defensive axis and Wigan offload game, designed to accelerate the attack and catch defences off guard, will be pivotal.