Monday, 7 October 2013

Wigan Triumph Over Wire in Grand Final

A stunning second half comeback saw Wigan Warriors complete a League and Cup double with a superb 30-16 victory over Warrington Wolves at Old Trafford.

Both sides were raring to go but the game was halted in the second minute when Green went down injured during a Wigan attack and replays showed he had been struck by Westwood but thankfully he was able to get up and continue.

Wigan had the better start and O'Loughlin picked out Goulding who looked to set Charnley away but Bridge touch knocked the ball into touch and from the scrum, Gouding was held short of the line and Smith kicked on the final tackle but the kick was too powerful for anyone to collect.

Warrington pushed back by forcing Wigan to drop out from in goal but the first points came from Wigan in the 11th minute as Wigan were awarded a penalty ans Richards successfully kicked for goal for a 2-0 lead.

Green hit a brilliant 40/20 minutes later but Wigan failed to take advantage from a good position and in the 21st minute, Warrington took the lead after a Briers kick to the corner was collected by Joel Monaghan who went over for the first try but Ratchford's missed goal meant the lead was only 2-4.

Warrington went in again after Richards had kicked out on the full and from the penalty, Higham sent Grix over for the try and Ratchford added the goal for a eight point lead at 2-10. The Wire try run continued with a third in eight minutes as Briers found Westwood who saw a huge gap in the Wigan line and exploited it to score and Ratchford's successful kick made it 2-16 giving Wigan a mountain to climb to comeback.

Wigan needed a quick response and in their attack, Monaghan went down injured and had to be stretchered off with Wigan getting a breakthrough as the ball from Tomkins found Goulding who went over for a try in the 39th minute and Richards missed goal meant a ten point deficit at 6-16 at the interval.

Wigan made a perfect start in the second half as McIlorum swooped over to score under the posts in the 47th minute and Richards' successful kick meant they were only four behind at 12-16. The East stand went wild when a great kick from Goulding was collected by Charnley who notched up his 43rd try of the season after racing clear and Richards converted for a Wigan lead of 18-16.

The lead could have increased instantly as Tomkins setup Charnley but with the try line in sight, he knocked on to the despair of the Wigan fans but they were joyful again in the 64th minute as McIlorum hit a pinpoint pass to Green who raced over the line to score Wigan's fourth try and with a Richards goal, Wigan now led 24-16 and the doubters were preparing their humble pies.

The win and the completion of the double was guaranteed by the departing Pat Richards who took a pass from O'Loughin before stopping unmarked inches from the try line before walking over for a famous try which caused an eruptive roar from the Wigan fans which increased as he kicked the goal for a 30-16 lead.

Just before the hooter, Blake Green was announced as the winner of the Harry Sunderland Trophy which was an amazing achievement after being injured in the opening minutes and it ensured that Wigan's half back partnership now hold both the Challenge Cup and Grand Final man of the match awards.

The hooter sounded to the countdown of the joyous Wigan fans and the celebrations of a spectacular comeback began and lasted late into the night.

What a brillaint final that was, the perfect way to bring down the curtain on an amazing and successful season for Wigan and at 18-16 I was thinking my wild prediction would come true but six points either way wasn't too bad and it mattered not after an amazing night.

This season has been a great pleasure to report on and  after my seasonal round up later in the week, I will see you all next season. BRING ON 2014!

Friday, 4 October 2013

Wire and Wigan Meet in Grand Final

When Wigan and Warrington faced off in round two of the regular rounds, few would have bet that they would meet in the final game of the season - the Super League Grand Final but the showpiece event that many neutrals wished for will come true tomorrow at Old Trafford.

Warrington are favourites having finished higher in the league but also because they know Wigan have failed to beat them in both of the last two seasons in the league with the last Wigan win against them coming in the 2011 Challenge Cup.

Both sides beat Huddersfield and Leeds in the play-offs with Warrington posting the better scores which is another reason why Wigan are the underdogs, one thing Wigan do have over Warrington is that they have been and won at Old Trafford doing so in their last visit in 2010.

Wigan welcome back captain Sean O'Loughlin and the departing trio of Lee Mossop, Pat Richards and Sam Tomkins will all make their final appearance for the Warriors while Warrington name the same 19 that defeated Huddersfield last week.

Wigan -Josh Charnley, Dom Crosby, Gil Dudson, Liam Farrell, Ben Flower, Anthony Gelling, Darrell Goulding, Blake Green, Harrison Hansen, Jack Hughes, Michael McIlorum, Lee Mossop, Sean O'Loughlin, Pat Richards, Matty Smith, Scott Taylor, Iain Thornley, Logan Tomkins, Sam Tomkins.

Warrington- Ryan Atkins, Chris Bridge, Lee Briers, Garreth Carvell, Mike Cooper, Simon Grix, Ben Harrison, Micky Higham, Chris Hill, Brett Hodgson, Joel Monaghan, Michael Monaghan, Adrian Morley, Richie Myler, Stefan Ratchford, Chris Riley, Trent Waterhouse, Ben Westwood, Paul Wood.

This year, I have been close and sometimes far away with predictions but I think this will be a close one and my heart is going for Wigan 24 Warrington 22.