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1998 Super League Grand Final

Wigan Warriors v Leeds Rhinos - 1998 Super League Grand Final.
Saturday 24th October 1998. Kick Off 6:30pm at Old Trafford, Manchester.

The inaugural JJB Super League Grand Final saw John Monie's Wigan Warriors defeat Leeds Rhinos 10-4 in a tight encounter on a wet Saturday evening at Old Trafford.

A crowd of 43,533 was enthralled by the game, despite terrible conditions, with the result not certain until the final kick of the match, when Wigan captain Andy Farrell added his second penalty of the night.

Jason Robinson won the Harry Sunderland trophy as the Man of the Match, and it was his try shortly before half time that put the Warriors in the lead, one which they were never to surrender.

Defence was certainly the order of the day in a marvellous encounter, with the Leeds back three of Adrian Morley, Anthony Farrell and Marc Glanville outstanding in the face of massive Wigan pressure throughout the match.

Robbie McCormack and Henry Paul, joining Mark Bell in playing their final game for the Warriors, were also excellent, while skipper Farrell was an absolute rock on both attack and defence.

Robinson may have been the pick of the backs, but Richie Blackmore always looked a danger against Danny Moore, while Gary Connolly and Brad Godden enjoyed a fine duel.

The game burst to life in the 21st minute when, after Iestyn Harris had split the Wigan defence only to be hauled down ten yards out, the ball was moved wide by Ryan Sheridan for Blackmore to slide over and open the scoring.

Harris narrowly missed with the conversion attempt, having already done the same with a penalty from a similar wide position, and Graham Murray's men had to be content with a 4-0 lead, despite having the better of the opening quarter.

Wigan began to come back into the game in the final ten minutes before the break, Robinson making a 35-yard break inside his own half before Mestrov and Paul found half-gaps.

Tony Smith's kick to the corner dipped over Cummins but under the diving figure of Robinson as Wigan threatened the Leeds line for the first time before, in the 37th minute, they finally made the pressure count.

Robinson picked the ball up at dummy half and moved infield before racing between Darren Fleary and Jamie Mathiou and past Harris from 20 yards out to dive under the posts. Farrell added the simple conversion, giving Wigan a 6-4 lead at the interval.

The second half began with similar intensity, and Francis Cummins' fine tackle on Farrell after the Wigan skipper had broken clear was wasted when Mark Glanville conceded a penalty a minute later.

Farrell added the two points from close range and suddenly Leeds were four points behind, and the deficit could have been extended had Bell had his effort disallowed by the video referee three minutes later.

The winger was adjudged to have knocked on after collecting a Neil Cowie bomb, regathering off Harris' chest to touch down, Leeds able to breathe a sigh of relief as the giant screen flashed 'No Try'.

Harris inspired a comeback from the Rhinos as they mounted pressure on the Wigan line, but his pass to Cummins went straight into touch before Rivett was pushed over the sidelines at the other side following a Blackmore pass which was ruled forward.

And Wigan heeded the warnings to pen the Rhinos in their own half, Mick Cassidy going to within inches before being hauled down under a fine last-ditch tackle from Ryan Sheridan as the Warriors wasted chance after chance for a drop goal.

The Leeds scrum half then had what was eventually their last chance when, with five minutes remaining, he burrowed to the line only for the ball to spurt free under a four-man tackle.

As the desperation mounted, Wigan moved back downfield and, after Holroyd had knocked on, he conceded a penalty forty metres out.

With little over a minute on the clock, Farrell decided to kick for goal, and his sweetly struck effort dissected the goalposts to seal a glorious, but hard-fought, 10-4 victory.

Team Sheets

- Wigan Position Leeds -
1 Kris Radlinski Full Back Iestyn Harris 1
2 Jason Robinson Winger Leroy Rivett 22
4 Gary Connolly Centre Richie Blackmore 3
3 Danny Moore Centre Brad Godden 4
5 Mark Bell Winger Francis Cummins 5
6 Henry Paul Stand Off Daryl Powell 13
7 Tony Smith Scrum Half Ryan Sheridan 7
16 Terry O'Connor Prop Marc Glanville 12
9 Robbie McCormack Hooker Terry Newton 21
10 Tony Mestrov Prop Darren Fleary 25
17 Stephen Holgate 2nd Row Adrian Morley 11
20 Lee Gilmour 2nd Row Anthony Farrell 17
13 Andy Farrell L.Forward Martin Masella 8
- - - - -
8 Neil Cowie Substitute Graham Holroyd 14
12 Simon Haughton Substitute Jamie Mathiou 20
14 Mick Cassidy Substitute Marcus St Hilaire 24
25 Paul Johnson Substitute Andy Hay 27

Score Sheet

Wigan Warriors 10 --- Leeds Rhinos 4
Tries (1):
Jason Robinson
- Tries (1):
Richie Blackmore
Andy Farrell 3

Scoring and Incident Pattern - (Check Times)

21st Minute Wigan 00 Leeds 04 Try: Richie Blackmore
38th Minute Wigan 04 Leeds 04 Try: Jason Robinson
39th Minute Wigan 06 Leeds 04 Conversion: Andy Farrell
Half Time Wigan Warriors 06 Leeds Rhinos 04
47th Minute Wigan 08 Leeds 04 Penalty Goal: Andy Farrell
79th Minute Wigan 10 Leeds 04 Penalty Goal: Andy Farrell
Full Time Wigan Warriors 10 Leeds Rhinos 04

Other Information

Referee: Russell Smith (Castleford)
Attendance: 43,553
Weather: Heavy Rain.
Harry Sunderland Trophy Winner: Jason Robinson (Wigan)

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