Liam Farrell aiming to keep up Wigan Warriors record amid Sam Burgess' Warrington revolution

Just a few weeks from his 34th birthday and having won 14 major trophies, Wigan captain Liam Farrell could be forgiven for getting blasé ahead of another bid for silverware.

But that couldn’t be further from the truth. The veteran England second-row leads his hometown club into Saturday's Challenge Cup final with excitement dripping from every pore.

Wigan have never lost a major final against Warrington, prospering in all eight showdowns so far. Farrell has featured in three of them, all Grand Final deciders, as his club irritated and frustrated the Wolves at every turn.

He has no intention of seeing that run end here and maintained he still gets the same buzz as he did when he won his first of three Challenge Cup successes in 2011.

Farrell said: “One hundred percent. As I’ve gotten older and more experienced, I’ve realised they don’t come around that often. Early on in my career, ‘11 was my first one [final] and then I got one again in ‘13 so they came quite thick and fast.

“But we had a period where we didn’t quite get as many, so you have to enjoy them, the full week not just the day. It’s a completely new group, a fresh group, and one that hasn’t been down to Wembley, so we’re excited.”

Farrell skippered Wigan when they hoisted the Cup at Tottenham two years ago. But he would love to lift it as captain for the first time at Wembley on a day when the sport also celebrates the late, great Rob Burrow, his former England team-mate.

Given reigning Super League champions Wigan are joint-top, have already beaten NRL giants Penrith in the World Club Challenge and marched emphatically to this point, it’s easy to see why they have been installed as ½ favourites.

But under Sam Burgess, Warrington are an impressive beast in 2024. “Sam was just a fierce competitor,” recalled Farrell, about another of his former England team-mates. “Just the way he went about his game, he was totally uncompromising.

“Some of the attributes you see in some of the best players, he delivered all of that, and I’m guessing he’s bringing that to his coaching philosophies as well.”

Farrell, a six-time Dream Team selection, admitted: “I do see the influence he’s had on them: they seem to be a team who want to play for one another, they’re gritty, aren’t falling out of games, and look like they want to play and win games.

“He’s done a really good job with them, and we know we’re coming up against a tough opposition. Every time we come up against Warrington, it’s a tough game, as we saw last weekend [19-18 Wigan win]. It doesn’t matter who’s playing for them.”

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