It is first versus second in the 2017 Betfred Super League Grand Final at Old Trafford on Saturday.

Here, we examine the key battles that could prove crucial to the outcome of the derby clash between Castleford Tigers and Leeds Rhinos.

Paul McShane (Castleford) v Matt Parcell (Leeds)

McShane, who began his career with hometown club Leeds, has been a revelation in 2017, producing the best rugby of his career to force his way into the England elite training squad. His exquisite ball-handling skills have seen him switch into the halves when needs must and his clever kicking game complements that of regular scrum-half Luke Gale.

Parcell was the only addition to the Leeds squad that struggled so alarmingly in 2016 and he has played a pivotal role in their resurrection. The former Brisbane and Manly hooker had some big boots to fill following the sudden exit of James Segeyaro but proved to be a shrewd acquisition with his explosive running out of dummy half and tryscoring ability.

Michael Shenton (Castleford) v Kallum Watkins (Leeds)

Kallum Watkins celebratingKallum Watkins has been influential in the Rhinos run to the Grand Final (Martin Rickett/PA)

They could be team-mates for England in the World Cup but they will be aiming get the better of each other on Saturday. Shenton, one of only two Castleford players with Grand Final experience, remains a class act with his exciting footwork and ability to cut superb lines on attack. He was hugely influential in Denny Solomona’s record-breaking tryscoring season in 2016 and has replicated the feat with his successor Greg Eden.

Watkins has borne the brunt of responsibility for Leeds’ cutting-edge attack for more years than he cares to remember and he has taken on the added responsibility of goalkicking in 2017, improving with virtually every game. Castleford will be keen to stop the ball getting to the dangerous centre, who has the ability to create opportunities from nothing.

Grant Millington (Castleford) v Adam Cuthbertson (Leeds)

These two Australian front row forwards are the closest thing to the traditional old-fashioned ball-playing forwards that used to grace the English game before it was taken over by nimble hookers and free-scoring threequarters. For the traditionalists, there is still no finer sight than a prop rumbling into a gang of tacklers and offloading to support runners in oceans of space. They are half-backs in forwards jumpers.

Millington has been a consistent performer for the Tigers who has taken his game to new heights in 2017 and Cuthbertson, whose smart offload game was negated by street-wise opponents in 2016, pushed him close for a place in the Dream Team after recapturing his form this year.