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LEE'S GOING FORTH; SUPER LEAGUE: SAINTS v GIANTS.

Byline: TREVOR BAXTER

SUPER LEAGUE: SAINTS v GIANTS LEE'S GOING FORTH Gilmour plots GIANT STEP Lee Gilmour has his eye on Old Trafford another trip to Final 7 & COUNTING..

Lee Gilmour's Engage Super League Grand Final record: 1998: Winner with Wigan v Leeds 2000: Loser with Wigan v St Helens 2002: Loser with Bradford v St Helens 2006: Winner with St Helens v Hull FC 2007: Loser with St Helens v Leeds 2008: Loser with St Helens v Leeds 2009: Loser with St Helens v Leeds LEE GILMOUR will put close friendships aside tonight to extend his remarkable Grand Final record.

The Huddersfield secondrower has appeared in seven Old Trafford showpieces with three different clubs.

Indeed, only five teams have reached the end-ofseason finale since 1998. Now Gilmour is 80 minutes away from running out at the Theatre of Dreams for an eighth occasion with a fourth team.

And if it means spoiling pal Keiron Cunningham's farewell to Knowsley Road, then Gilmour will have no regrets. "Keiron is a great friend, a great bloke and an unbelievable player," said the former St Helens favourite.

"But it's my job to make sure Huddersfield are in that Grand Final. If that means Keiron's last game is going to be at Knowsley Road, that's the way it's got to be."

Gilmour, who also played in Wigan's last-ever fixture at Central Park, spent six years with Saints, scoring 45 tries in 146 appearances.

And the former Great Britain international admits he would be inside Knowsley Road this evening even had Huddersfield not stunned Warrington on Saturday.

"I'd have been definitely been there cheering on the guys because I made some great friends, especially Keiron.

"However, I've not spoken to him for a while. I thought about it but decided to leave it. Actually, I've not been in contact with anyone at Saints.

"They're not stupid to give anything away to me and I'm not stupid enough to tell them anything.

"But Keiron is a top player - one of the best hookers in the world, if not the best.

"Some players can do it for three or for years, some can do it for six or seven. But to do it for the length of time he has is remarkable.

"And if Keiron was to put his hand up now for an international jersey you'd pick him straight away."

Gilmour appeared in four Grand Finals with Saints but only won one.

"I had six brilliant years at Saints," he said. "But my job is to beat them tonight and help Huddersfield reach a Grand Final that this club has been building towards for a few years.

"Most of our lads played in the semi-final win over Saints in the Challenge Cup last year. So they know they are beatable."

Cunningham, 33, will be making his 495th appearance for Saints in the final match at the 1 2 0 -y e a r -o l d ground.

"I have to go out and play it as if i t 's my last game and, if we progress, then I'll have one more go at it," he said.

Huddersfield will pick the same 17 that w o n a t Warrington; Saints may gamble on Kyle Eastmond's fitness.

7 & COUNTING..

Lee Gilmour's Engage Super League Grand Final record:

1998: Winner with Wigan v Leeds

2000: Loser with Wigan v St Helens

2002: Loser with Bradford v St Helens

2006: Winner with St Helens v Hull FC

2007: Loser with St Helens v Leeds

2008: Loser with St Helens v Leeds

2009: Loser with St Helens v Leeds

CAPTION(S):

OUT ON A HIGH Keiron Cunningham plays at Knowsley Road for the final time
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Title Annotation:Sport
Publication:The Mirror (London, England)
Geographic Code:4EUUK
Date:Sep 24, 2010
Words:616
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