Super League semi-finals: St Helens' Joey Lussick driven by 2019 Grand Final hurt
Joey Lussick will line up for St Helens on Saturday against his former club as they clash for a place in the Grand Final at Old Trafford; Watch the Super League semi-final: St Helens vs Salford Red Devils live on Sky Sports Arena on Saturday from 12.30pm
By Megan Wellens
Last Updated: 15/09/22 7:08am
Joey Lussick is under no illusions of how important St Helens' semi-final clash against his old club Salford is going to be as he looks to get one step closer to finally clinching a Grand Final victory.
Lussick played 59 times for the Red Devils during their remarkable run to Old Trafford in 2019, which they ultimately lost against St Helens, and knows that his former side will be looking to get it "spot on" this weekend as they face off to clinch that all-important Grand Final spot.
"This is what you work all year for really," said Lussick.
"Everyone's really excited, all four teams are, but we are really looking forward to this week.
"It is a bit of a funny one how the world works sometimes but Salford have been phenomenal the back end of this year, like Wigan and Leeds have as well. All four teams are going to really be on for that spot next weekend.
"I think any team, it doesn't really matter how you have been this year or if you have been good or poor, real end of the story is how are you now.
"We are one game off Old Trafford so every team will be backing themselves this week, we are going to do the same and I am sure Salford will be no different.
"This is the real nitty gritty of the competition now and there is a real excitement around the club and around the team at the moment and we just can't wait for Saturday.
"They have finished the year really strong and we know the threats they are going to pose to us this weekend."
'I stopped to watch the Saints boys celebrate in 2019'
Lussick has experienced the highs and lows that the playoffs has to offer and cites those losing moments after the Grand Final in 2019 as the "fuel to the fire" to finally get that win with St Helens in 2022.
"We had our ups and downs like many teams did but like I say to everyone, no matter how you have gone in the year, any team that is here at this point in the year is going to fancy themselves and we were no different in 2019," said Lussick.
"We had a good run coming into the finals and we just carried that momentum. The most important people we had around were the people in the playing group, the staff, the players in the club and it was just a great environment to be a part of, as I am sure the other three clubs are feeling at the moment.
"At the time, I remember I actually stayed back, most of the boys went back to the sheds but I stopped and watched the Saints boys for a couple of minutes and just said, 'jeez, I wish that was me'.
"There and then you are obviously hurting a bit but moving forward and looking to the future you try to not look back too much on that and just try and focus on what you have got, but it definitely does add a bit of fuel to the fire."
There are 'no excuses' | Our focus is purely on this game
With the announcement earlier this week that Alex Walmsley will be out for the remainder of the season and the World Cup, St Helens fans were left worried that one of their star players will be missing for the crucial part of the season.
However, for Lussick, St Helens have "no excuses" to let that affect their mentality this weekend against a Salford side who are full of confidence and insists his side have just been focused on the job at hand.
"As black and white as it is, it is part of our game," he added.
"You can sit and sulk all you want and say, 'I wish we had him', but we are just focused on the boys that are playing this weekend and the squad available and we are all going to put our best foot forward.
"I am very fortunate to be at a great club where they have had some great success but that doesn't mean too much come Saturday.
"We are just really focused on the game at hand and hopefully we can put a good performance in and reach that final next weekend."
Watch the Super League semi final between St Helens and Salford live on Sky Sports Arena on Saturday from 12.30pm (kick-off 1pm)