Super League Grand Final, Wigan Warriors 20 Leeds Rhinos 22, Rhinos Wrap Up Treble Triumph Thanks To Josh Walters Winning Try

Teenage star Josh Walters scored a try he will never forget to make sure Leeds Rhinos departing stars Kevin Sinfield, Jamie Peacock and Kylie Leuluai went out on the back of a thoroughly deserved outstanding treble triumph as this champion team wrote yet another chapter in the history of this great sport.

The proceedings began with the entry of the First Utility Super League trophy before superstar rock band The Charlatans were formerly introduced to the army of supporters who were amassing in Old Trafford for this eagerly anticipated Super League Grand Final which was the first time that Wigan and Leeds had contested it since they were the headline act at the first ever one in 1998.

Classical star Laura Wright then gave an uplifting performance of Jerusalem before the battle hardened Rhinos and Warriors entered the Theatre of Dreams to a cauldron of expectant noise for the formalities before the kick off.

Shaun Wane started Dominic Manfredi and John Bateman in his three-quarter line along with 19 year old Centre Oliver Gildart, his counterpart Brian McDermott also sprang a surprise with Brad Singleton being named in the starting line-up for the Rhinos and offload machine Adam Cuthbertson dropping to the bench where he sat with teenager Walters.

Brett Delaney also somehow made it into the 17 after departing Headingley on crutches after their semi-final win over St. Helens the previous week.

The men from Headingley started with more purpose but it was the Warriors drew first blood in the fourth minute as Liam Farrell caught Rhinos captain Kevin Sinfield out of place and raced through before handing on to Sydney Roosters bound Joe Burgess for the winger to repeat his try scoring performance from 12 months ago, retiring Matty Bowen added the conversion to give them a six point lead.

Leeds responded immediately though after Matty Smith knocked on from the restart and after the resultant scrum a deft grubber by Sinfield was pounced on by Danny McGuire to score beside the posts, Sinfield’s inevitable conversion brought the Rhinos level in the seventh minute.

Wigan forced the Rhinos to drop out after Tom Briscoe was forced behind his own line and with the sustained pressure Michael McIlorum made a dive for the Leeds try line but he dropped the ball just short.

Tempers threatened to boil over as Brad Singleton was penalised for tackling Burgess in the air from a high kick close to the Warriors line.

The game settled into an arm wrestle in which the most noteworthy incident was a clash of heads between Sinfield and Cuthbertson requiring both Rhinos players to have running repairs with strapping going round their profusely bleeding heads.

A cross-field kick by Steve Prescott Man of Steel winner Zak Hardaker then caused panic in the Warriors defence which ensued in the tackle count being wiped clean by referee Ben Thaler, in a frantic period of play Leeds flung the ball right to left and then back to the right and, despite a possible knock on in the build up by McGuire, the video referees awarded an eventual try to Joel Moon to a chorus of boos from the supporters in Cherry and White, uncharacteristically Sinfield missed the conversion to leave it a four point gap after 28 minutes.

The Warriors then marched to the Leeds end of the pitch and forced some sustained pressure on the Rhinos defensive line with a knock on by Ryan Hall giving them head and feed 10 meters from the Rhinos line but an organised defence from the men in Blue and Amber held them at bay.

Leeds then suddenly cut the Warriors apart with breathtaking speed and ingenuity as Wembley hero Briscoe engineered a break to put Kallum Watkins away down the right and the England Centre handed inside to put McGuire in for his 2nd try of the match, Sinfield’s conversion gave them a 10 point lead that they held for the last four minutes of the half.

Wigan had the first surge into enemy territory of the 2nd half but a pass from Bowen was knocked on by Farrell so the chance was squandered.

A knock on by McGuire then presented the Warriors with territory and possession and then a high shot by the retiring Kylie Leuluai gave the Warriors more possession and then a dangerous grubber was knocked dead by Sinfield forcing the Rhinos to have to drop out from under their posts for the second time in the game.

Sustained pressure from the Warriors on the Rhinos line eventually saw a high bomb from Sean O’ Loughlin stolen by Manfredi from the clutches of Hall for the Wigan man to dive over and put his side back in the contest, Bowen added the extra two points to bring them back within four points seven minutes into the half.

Within two minutes of that the Warriors were back in front for the first time since the 7th minute as Bowen cut his way through feeble Rhinos defence and raced in under the posts and then added the conversion to his try to make it 18-16 to the men from the DW Stadium.

Watkins gave away a soft penalty for a high shot on Farrell which led to more pressure on the Rhinos but this time Wigan managed to lose the ball over the Leeds try line in a frantic piece of play.

McIlorum then claimed a clever penalty as he threw a pass against Watkins in an offside position at the play-the-ball and with 19 minutes remaining Bowen duly obliged to stretch their lead to four points as the pendulum continued to swing their way.

Three minutes later this great sport wrote another great fairytale chapter as young Josh Walters, coming off the bench in his first ever play-off game, scrambled over after the Warriors made a hash of clearing up a high kick and two passes later the teenager was in, Sinfield restored the Rhinos lead with the conversion.

A pitch invader then caused a short stop a few minutes later before the game resumed with the Warriors in possession.

Enthusiasm then got the better of Manfredi as he raised Hall in a dangerous tackle and dumped the England winger on his shoulder.

Desperate defence by the Warriors then led to a scrum for Leeds 10 meters from the line and then more desperation from the Warriors held them at bay somehow.

McIlorum then scragged Burrow to the ground with a head high tackle giving the Rhinos another penalty which was duly dispatched into touch.

Leeds kept forcing the issue but a very well organised defence still kept them out but then just as Tony Clubb seemed to be creating a break in midfield he tried to pass but the ball went forward and hit the deck.

For all the times that commentators Eddie and particularly Stevo kept referring to the superstar names in the Rhinos line-up as the ones who could put this game beyond the Warriors they somehow kept contriving to blow guilt edged chance after chance but, importantly held on to their two point lead.

In a breathless finish the Warriors tried everything they could after gaining possession with a scrum 10 meters from their line but a frantic kick wide was eventually defused by Hall giving way to absolute unbridled joy as they completed the Super League Leaders Shield, Ladbrokes Challenge Cup and Grand Final treble and defeated the Warriors in a major final for the first time in their distinguished history.

Penalties: Wigan 4 Leeds 5

Goal Line Drop Outs: Wigan 0 Leeds 2

Harry Sunderland Trophy Man of the Match: Danny McGuire

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Wigan Warriors 60 Hull KR 0. Injury Stricken Robins Made To Suffer By Rampant Warriors.

Hull KR took to the pitch minus Josh Mantellato, Dane Tilse, Shaun Lunt and captain Terry Campese then, at the last minute Kevin Larroyer had to be withdrawn following an injury in the warm up so Rovers coach Chris Chester brought in youngsters Connor Robinson and Josh Guzdek to put with fellow teenagers Sonny Esslemont and Aaron Ollett and Tyrone McCarthy took the captains armband.

The first try took less than 3 minutes to arrive as Wigan ran the ball on the last tackle and prop Dominic Crosby charged over from 20 meters out, the conversion from Matty Smith gave the home side a 6-0 lead.

The tone was being set very early as, from the kick off, after a few tackles the Warriors shifted the ball from right to left and a move involving Dan Sarginson, Joe Burgess and George Williams from 70 meters out led to a 6th minute try for Burgess under the posts, Smith tagged on the goal for a 12-0 lead.

A penalty caused by the Robins kick off going out on the full led to more pressure on their line and Wigan stretched their advantage as Liam Farrell swept through a non-existent defence for the 3rd try in 8 minutes and Smith again made no mistake to make it 18-0.

Less than 11 minutes had passed as another break down the middle by Farrell teed up a 12th try of the season for Joe Burgess, a fourth goal for Smith made it 24-0 and the match was effectively over as a contest.

Rovers right hand defence was having a genuine nightmare but the middle was also being made to suffer as the home side were finding big yards far too easy to come by even considering the personnel the men from East Yorkshire had missing.

The 15th minute saw another flowing passing move from the Warriors which finished with Joel Tomkins, playing at Centre for the first time since his sides defeat away to Rovers, charging in at the corner to score, Smith missed the conversion from wide out but the Warriors looked very comfortable at 28-0 ahead.

Three minutes later Burgess thought he had his second consecutive hat-trick but he was pulled back for a forward pass by Sarginson.

A goal line drop out was forced as Ben Cockayne was caught behind the line after a precise grubber kick by Williams and this again invited pressure on the visitors line which led to Williams then throwing an absolutely outrageous dummy which was taken hook, line and sinker and left a gap wide enough for a sherman tank for the stand off to dart through and dive in for the 6th try in 21 minutes, the goal from Smith stretched the lead to 34 points.

There was a brief period when Rovers strung a few passes together but at no point did they threaten the home sides line. However Wigan seemed to drop their intensity visibly and at the same time the Robins rolled up the sleeves and seemed determined to shackle the Warriors and this they did with the help of a few uncharacteristic mistakes like forward passes and dropped ball.

Despite not scoring for the last 19 minutes of the first half and some silly mistakes the home side still went in at the break with the game wrapped up at 34-0.

An early penalty in the second half for offside brought more pressure and the first try of the half was awarded by the video referee after a kick from Williams was snaffled by Burgess before offloading to Farrell who, in turn, flicked the ball out to Sarginson to score in the corner, Smith’s touchline conversion saw the cherry and white’s hit 40.

More mistakes cost a fatigued Rovers more and more possession and territory and a poor attitude certainly wasn’t helping them with Wigan in such ruthless mood.

The 52nd minute saw the video referee called upon again by referee Phil Bentham to award another try to Dominic Manfredi who forced his way over from close quarters despite the attentions of five would-be defenders, the missed conversion from Smith left the score at 44-0.

Thankfully for the visitors the Warriors kept trying the party tricks but whilst some of them came off, plenty of others ended with forward passes and dropped ball along with other needless mistakes otherwise the score could have been much worse.

Five minutes after the Manfredi effort former Wakefield man Taulima Tautai charged onto a pass to barrel his way over next to the posts, Smith’s goal brought up the half century.

Another try duly arrived in the 62nd minute as Williams fooled everybody on the last tackle with a sudden burst of pace from 40 meters out to race through a huge gap and score beside the posts, another conversion from Smith made it 56-0.

On the one occasion the Robins managed to break their hosts defensive line a forward pass from James Donaldson saw Green pulled back and a certain try ruled out. Rovers fans were seen doing a conga around their stand, unfortunately it couldn’t inspire their team to get the try their fans so desperately deserved.

The deadly duo struck again with less than three minutes left to play as George Williams once again produced a delightful little chip over the defence and Joe Burgess profited to grab his hat-trick try, Smith missed the conversion to leave the final score at 60-0.

The obvious concern for the Robins going forward is that in their last three games (league and cup) they have now shipped in 122 points, they will obviously be a different proposition in two weeks in the Challenge Cup match which is taking place on neutral territory at Leigh Sports Village whilst the pitch is relaid at the DW Stadium.

Post match Shaun Wane said he was under no illusions that they would be a different proposition in the cup match, on the other hand it was noted about Chris Chester’s almost casual attitude to what had just happened as he also knows his team should be very much stronger for that cup match, and indeed should carry much more threat at home against basement side Wakefield Trinity Wildcats next week.

Attendance 11,468

Rovers man of the match: Graeme Horne