How Kristian Woolf and Rohan Smith’s Grand Final preparation was influenced by Morgan Knowles appeal

There is a Grand Final tomorrow but one of the decider’s subplots has somewhat taken centre stage.

That would be the saga around Morgan Knowles. The brilliant loose-forward who has been named in the last four Super League Dreams was banned for two-games for twisting Chris Atkin’s arm in the semi-final win over Salford.

The Saints appealed the ban on Tuesday and failed but in a twist of fate they were able to exploit a contradiction in the judge’s ruling to get the ban over turned in a second appeal on Wednesday.

With such a narrative going on in the background, how has this affected both coaches in their preparations for Saturday’s final?

Saints boss Kristian Woolf revealed that the Champions were preparing in two separate ways one with Knowles and one without: “We’ve gone about our business, we thought we had grounds for appeal and prepared in two ways, one with Morgan and one without Morgan thinking there was a chance he could play.”

He also revealed just how delighted Knowles was with the verdict: “He was really happy, like the rest of us he thought there were grounds for appeal. There was a confidence and a belief that we were going to get that result.”

What about the Rhinos then? Have they been keeping an eye on the disciplinary this week? Well according to Rohan Smith they were planning to play against Knowles all along: “We planned as if he was going to play. Didn’t really have a major reaction, it could go either way. It’s good for the game and the World Cup.

“I’m not on the inside, or what went down or what the case actually was. I’ve seen the tackle that’s it. Each hearing is it’s own individual thing and as it was shown on Tuesday to Wednesday a different group can find a different answer to the same tackle. I’m just looking forward to the game.”

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