Hi Ben. All ready for Wigan on Friday night?
Definitely. With a place in the final up for stake we know it will be another intense game. We played them recently so we know what to expect, and we are looking forward to it.
Yes, you beat them 20-6 at the end of the regular season. Does that mean anything?
Sadly not. It is a different day and a different game, and you just take the next 80 minutes on its merits. What we can take confidence from is how we beat St Helens to get here. It was a tough, tough match but when it was up for grabs we took the initiative and made sure we came out on top. I think this one will be pretty similar. The team in the last ten minutes with the most energy, and the one that can be most clinical, will take the victory.
How much does the experience that your club has built up for these occasions matter?
I think the younger players look to the senior blokes in the team that have been there and done it before. They know what to expect, and the younger blokes follow them really. They set the example week in and week out, and come the play-offs time get so honed in, they set the standard for the ruthlessness of the team.
Jamie Peacock seems to go on forever. He's 35 now.
I know. It seems each year he gets a year older but his performances get better and better. He's a great professional on and off the field, he looks after himself and it shows.
You're 4.94/1 for this year's Grand Final, but then you've been outsiders in both the last two seasons and ended up getting to Old Trafford and winning. What's the secret?
I think is just how we get looked after. We are playing for big games. We've had the World Club Challenge at the beginning of the year that everyone peaks for, then in recent years we've had the Challenge Cup, and then obviously the play-offs is the big thing as well. It is just how we are prepared as a team. Come the big games we have the experienced players who lead from the front.
Tell us about Brian McDermott.
I've worked under him for a while. He took a chance on me and took me down to London and I learned well under him. At Leeds it is then a different environment. Up here we are challenging for big trophies so it is a different mindset. He manages the team well, from the big name players to the guys on the edge of the squad who want to play. You look forward to training every day and learning new things.
After all your health problems earlier in the new year, when you had six months out because of a blood clot on your lungs, it must be brilliant to be in this position?
Absolutely. It was frustrating to be out for so long, but I kept telling myself that as everybody else was slowing down at the end of a tough season I would be fit and fresh. I feel I can do more, my work load has increased, and I'm just so just glad to be back and helping out the boys.
In your career you've had this blood clot, and before that a dislocated shoulder and a fractured skull. You don't do little injuries, do you?
(laughs) I know. A small percentage of players get things like that, but I seem to have had them all. I just accept it because I love the sport, I really do. It is part and parcel that you get knocks. You get tested physically on the field, and then it is a mental test off the field to make sure you are right when you come back. This time around I feel I have worked harder, and I am seeing the benefits now.
What difference will it make to Wigan that Sam Tomkins has now confirmed he's leaving?
If anything it will make them tougher. Sam is a massive player for them, isn't he? He is one of the best in the world, and is going to want to head off to New Zealand on a high, so he is obviously a huge threat. They are a great team, they proved that as Challenge Cup winners, a great team with good players so it will be a good game.
And what do you make of Warrington and Huddersfield in the other semi?
Huddersfield have proven this year they are consistently the best team in the competition. I am sure they would have wanted for them to be making the Clubcall decision, but it has turned out the way it is. But Warrington gained a lot of experience by getting to the final last year, so both games will be crackers.
We wish you luck - and we've a free £50 bet with winnings to a favourite charity to say thanks for your time.
That's great - I support Crohn's and Colitis UK which aims to improve life for people affected by inflammatory bowel disease. I'll back the other Brian McDermott to get Leeds United promoted at 8.07/1. It would be great to see them back in the Premier League.