Sat, Oct 14, 2006 - Page 18 News List

Swain raring to go in Hull's first grand final

AFP , LONDON

New Zealand hooker Richard Swain is determined to make up for his Old Trafford agony when he leads Hull into their first Super League grand final today.

Hull captain Swain, 31, has bad memories of the Manchester stadium that will host his club's clash with St Helens after he was injured there in the 2000 World Cup final.

Swain, who has had spells with Hunter Mariners, Melbourne Storm and Brisbane Broncos, was carried off after being knocked out in the final against Australia and to make matters worse, his country slumped to a 40-12 defeat.

But any lingering bitter memories that Swain may have of that day will be erased if Hull can defeat St Helens this weekend.

Swain said: "I caught a hip from my Melbourne team-mate Robbie Kearns and all I can remember is a stretcher coming on so I'm definitely looking forward to having some better memories of this one."

"All my family will be watching back home. It's a big event in there, everyone watching the Super League final, so I hope we can make a good impression," he said.

"We know that we can. I have played in the Challenge Cup, NRL and World Cup finals and this one will be just as special, but a little different because it's with a team with whom I have spent so much time. We have worked for this for 11 months," Swain said.

"We'll all be nervous, I know I am. Just walking around an empty Old Trafford set the butterflies going, but nerves are good as they help your composure. We need to and will enjoy it," he added.

Swain believes the arrival of Australian coach Peter Sharp in April was the key factor in his side's impressive form this season.

Hull stunned Bradford, who had been to the previous five Grand Finals, in the play-off semi-finals and Swain sees no reason why they cannot surprise favorites St Helens as well.

"We were very good for one-off games but couldn't put it together regularly. We now need to be good for another one-off game, but this time we've got a full season of good performances behind us, with a side full of blokes who are the right age," Swain said.

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