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John Kear on the Challenge Cup final

CARNEGIE CHALLENGE CUP FINAL
Venue: Wembley Date: Saturday, 29 August Kick-off: 1430 BST Coverage: Live on BBC One and online; full commentary on BBC Radio Leeds 774 AM, online and BBC Radio 5 live sports extra, with live text commentary on the BBC Sport website

By John Kear
Wakefield coach and two-time Challenge Cup winner

Lee Briers and Brett Hodgson
Briers and Hodgson could be key to their team's chances of winning the game

This is a special final in so many ways: two evenly matched, superbly coached and hugely talented sets of players going head-to-head on the most famous stage of all.

I don't think the battle will be won tactically or technically. It will be a case of which bunch of players copes with the occasion best, gets out there and does the ordinary things extraordinarily well.

Huddersfield have the edge over Warrington in terms of experience having played in the Cup final three years ago.

But to be honest I thought they were overawed by the occasion then.

I really don't think they handled that occasion very well and in fact I would have that as a question mark against the Giants. Have they learned from that?

Are they feeling more confident as a group than they were at Twickenham?

606: DEBATE
Jammer The Hammer

I was there that day and got the impression they were just happy to be there rather than really believing they had a chance of winning it.

If you are going to achieve greatness you have to go there and make an impression on the occasion.

For me the kick-return area will be one of the key areas on the day. That incorporates the respective full-backs and wingers.

It's going to be vital then to get the forwards to gain that yardage going forward.

Off the back of that you need the Carvells, Morleys, Crabtrees and Jacksons ripping it up down the middle. Up front is vital. Whoever hits hardest, earliest in the pack will set the tone.

But I also think the dummy-half area is absolutely vital.

That battle pits the Wolves' Michael Monaghan against one of the revelations of this season in Huddersfield's Scotty Moore.

I've been very impressed with how Monaghan has adapted to the dummy-half role. That's been a real masterstroke from Tony Smith to put him there, and he causes all sorts of problems.

Moore has been outstanding all season, and then off the bench look out for David Faiumu's tremendous left-foot step that causes problems for everybody.

I think the beauty of this final is that it really is too close to call

Wakefield coach John Kear

There are match-winners on either side.

For Warrington, Lee Briers is bound to have a good game. He has waited 13 years for this, and don't forget the last game of this magnitude he played was a World Cup semi-final and he was monumental against Australia.

For the Giants, Brett Hodgson has been incredible, although my one worry is whether he will appreciate or realise just how big an occasion this is. Briers definitely will.

In terms of the two coaches, the guys know each other well. Tony Smith has had a massive effect on Warrington in the time he has been there.

The biggest effect he has had is that he is making a group of champion players into a team of champions and they are playing much more for each other.

Nathan Brown has had a fairytale debut season. I know him well and he is really hungry. He was as a player and is as a coach and he wants silverware this season, believe me.

Both coaches will target danger-men on the opposition. Warrington will work over Luke Robinson, Scott Moore and Kevin Brown. The Giants will target Monaghan and Briers. They will have to front up defensively so it will be a really tiring day, especially if it is warm.

I think the beauty of this final is that it really is too close to call. But if you are going to push me I think that Warrington will produce the goods on the big day.

John Kear was speaking to BBC Sport's George Riley.

Follow George's build-up to the final and catch him live from Wembley on Twitter



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see also
Huddersfield 16-25 Warrington
29 Aug 09 |  Rugby League
Smith looks to negate Giants' strengths
26 Aug 09 |  Warrington
Squad know what is needed - Brown
26 Aug 09 |  Huddersfield
Cup final means 'everything' - Briers
26 Aug 09 |  Warrington
A Challenge Cup dream realised
27 Aug 09 |  Rugby League
We must keep composure - Hodgson
26 Aug 09 |  Huddersfield
Monaghan excited by 'huge' final
26 Aug 09 |  Warrington
Lolesi out to end Cup Final hoodoo
26 Aug 09 |  Huddersfield
Crabtree aims for Wembley joy
26 Aug 09 |  Rugby League
Morley joy at Wembley return
26 Aug 09 |  Rugby League
Richard Mathers Q&A
25 Aug 09 |  Warrington
Luke Robinson Q&A
26 Aug 09 |  Huddersfield
Cup heartbreak for Giants forward
24 Aug 09 |  Huddersfield
St Helens 14-24 Huddersfield
09 Aug 09 |  Rugby League
Wigan 26-39 Warrington
08 Aug 09 |  Rugby League


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