Saints stun rivals Wigan to win Super League Grand Final
St Helens won their first Grand Final since 2006, as they recorded a 14-8 victor over fiercest of rivals Wigan Warriors.
This Old Trafford showpiece started in explosive fashion, when Wigan’s Ben Flower attacked Lance Hohaia off the ball inside two minutes, knocking him to the ground and then delivering another blow to the face as Hohaia lay motionless.
Unsurprisingly it was an instant dismissal; his actions nearly sparking a 26-man brawl. Despite their man advantage, Saints were unable to capitalise, and even though they clawed back two points from a penalty after the Warriors edged into an early lead, from a penalty themselves.
However, on the stroke of half time, a sweeping move from right to left in the Saints’ 10 metre line, ended in Wigan’s Joe Burgess crossing in the corner.
For the second half, Saints came out fighting. Having lost five Grand Finals at Old Trafford between 2007 and 2011, coach Nathan Brown was clearly determined to stop the rot fro the fans. Sia Soliola’s dogged drive to the line, was a measure of how much he wanted put points on the board. Holding off three men, he finally crossed under the posts, with Mark Percival adding the extras.
Two points up, Saints took the initiative, and with the crowd behind them pressed ahead. Arguably player-of-the-season for St Helens, Tommy Makinson got the decider. Chasing a kick from Paul Wellens, he timed it to perfection, jumping the highest to collect it a metre from the line and bundle over for the deciding try under the posts.
After the match, both coaches reacted to the Ben Flower decision, and Wigan’s Shaun Wane said: “I’m not going to defend it.
“He punched him in the head and deserved to go. He’s done some good things for the club but he made a huge error,” he continued.
“It’s hard to keep a lid on things when there’s so much at stake and such intensity between the sides.”
Winning coach Brown said:”I think he’s served a fair punishment.
“I haven’t seen anything like that in 25 years in the sport. I think the occasion got to him.”