NRL: Warriors stick with same team for final

The Warriors celebrate during their win over the Sea Eagles on Saturday. Photo / Getty Images
The Warriors celebrate during their win over the Sea Eagles on Saturday. Photo / Getty Images

The Warriors will head into their NRL grand final showdown with Manly fired up by a former player's words of regret over the club's defeat in the 2002 title decider.

Prop Jacob Lillyman says ex-backrower Awen Guttenbeil spoke to the team about the 30-8 loss to the Sydney Roosters and the message was not to be satisfied with just making it to the big day.

"It really hit home with me and a few of the other boys that you can't be happy just to be there," he told journalists on Tuesday.

"You have to want to go into the game to win a premiership and I think the boys took a lot of that."

Like most of the present Warriors, Jacob Lillyman will be making his first grand final appearance and it will be an extra special moment for him when he runs out at Sydney's ANZ Stadium on Sunday.

He was part of North Queensland's finals campaign in 2005 but didn't get to play in the season finale, where the Cowboys fell to the Wests Tigers.

"It's been a while between drinks and you realise how special it is to make the big one," he said.

"I certainly appreciate it a lot more now than I would have back then."

After some tough times with injuries, 2011 has been a year to remember for the 27-year-old Lillyman, who also made a return to State of Origin football to be part of Queensland's sixth triumph in a row.

As a member of an imposing Warriors propping rotation that also includes Sam Rapira, Ben Matulino and Russell Packer, Lillyman admits he's pleased coach Ivan Cleary convinced him to make the move from the second row.

"I wasn't too keen at the time but I wouldn't change it for the world now," he said.

"I really enjoy my role and I'm really growing into the position. I think I'd be a little angry if I got told to go back the other way."

Guttenbeil, a former Kiwi who played 170 matches for the Warriors over 11 seasons, says his talk was a reflection on what he would do differently if he could have 2002 back again.

He says so much of the Warriors' focus during the playoffs that year was on simply getting the club to their first grand final that, on the day itself, he felt overawed.

"My biggest regret is that I don't know how much difference it would have made if I hadn't been there," he said.

"When your goal is to make a grand final and you make it, you need to set it a notch above again, which is to win it.

"I know these guys want to go out and win the comp."

Warriors: 1. Kevin Locke, 2. Bill Tupou, 3. Lewis Brown, 4. Krisnan Inu, 5, Manu Vatuvei, 6. James Maloney, 7. Shaun Johnson, 8. Sam Rapira, 9. Aaron Heremaia, 10. Jacob Lillyman, 11. Feleti Mateo, 12. Simon Mannering (capt), 13. Michael Luck. Interchange: Lance Hohaia, Russell Packer, Ben Matulino, Elijah Taylor, Steve Rapira (18th man).


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