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14th October 2000: St Helens 29 Wigan 16 (Grand Final)
Posted by cherryandwhite on October 21 2013 - 20:43

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St Helens v Wigan Warriors - Tetley's Super League V Grand Final
Saturday 14th October 2000. Kick Off 6:30pm at Old Trafford, Manchester

Match Report

Chris Joynt turned captain fantastic as St Helens retained their Tetley's Bitter Super League crown with a thrilling 29-16 Grand Final triumph over Wigan Warriors at Old Trafford.

Two inspirational tries from Joynt, one in each half, broke the hearts of Wigan.

And at the end when Joynt lifted the Grand Final trophy to the night sky in an emotional and spectacular finale, no skipper could have deserved his acclaim as man of the match more.

Joynt, a veteran of eight years at Knowsley Road, was simply superb, marshalling his men in a topsy-turvy end-to-end match which saw Wigan's Jason Robinson end his rugby league career on a losing note.

Robinson, 26, joins rugby union side Sale on Tuesday and if he plays another 10 years in rugby's other code it is unlikely he will match the ferocity and fervour of this encounter.

What a pity none of the pampered millionaires who usually park their Ferraris in the Old Trafford car park were here to witness it.

Because quite simply this was as Grand as sport gets. Abrasive and bruising, punishing and pulsating.

But in the end, despite a Wigan brave fightback, five-try Saints were worthy winners.

Indeed, they won because they possessed more game-breakers, more players blessed with individual brilliance - skipper Joynt, man of steel Sean Long, players' player of the year Tommy Martyn, the irrepressible Paul Sculthorpe.

Saints had men of magic all over the field; Wigan too often had to rely too heavily on the mercurial Andy Farrell and Robinson.

It was, of course, always going to be tough, pitching together the only two previous winners of the Grand Final, the winner and runner-up in this year's championship and, perhaps more significantly, the two fiercest rivals in the world of rugby league.

It also saw Wigan coach Frank Endacott spring a selection surprise by switching Robinson to full-back for his last match, Kris Radlinski moving to centre after Gary Connolly was ruled out through injury.

"We Will Rock You", boy band Five sang minutes before kick-off. And Sean Hoppe proceeded to rock Wigan as early as the seventh minute, squirming through an attempted Brett Dallas tackle for the first touchdown.

If anything it had come against the early run of play, Wigan having set off as if determined to avenge their 54-16 defeat by Saints a fortnight ago.

But Saints' lead lasted just seven minutes before Wigan skipper Andy Farrell took a short reverse pass from Tony Smith and surged towards the line.

He burst through one defender's tackle and then virtually carried Saints full-back Paul Wellens over the try-line with him such was his determination to level the scores.

The match settled down with alternate waves of Wigan blue and St Helens red lighting up Old Trafford and delighting a record Grand Final crowd of 58,132.

Joynt and loose forward Sculthorpe were beginning to dominate in the crucial forward battle - the Saints skipper almost touching down when he chased a through kick only to see the ball squeze against one of the uprights and be ruled 'no try' by video referee Ray Tennant.

Seven minutes later, however, Joynt was back on the rampage, twisting and turning his way past Farrell before brushing aside Robinson to flop over the line.

With Sean Long kicking the conversion and Sculthorpe dropping a goal, Saints took in an 11-4 lead at the interval.

It seemed the defining moment of this thrilling game, however, had arrived in the 50th minute. First Wigan centre Steve Renouf broke clear to scamper 50 metres, only to be caught by a desperate Saints defence.

Then Wigan's agony was complete as Saints surged back down the field for the impish Long to dodge and weave his way through before feeding Joynt for his second try. Long added the conversion and at 17-4 adrift it seemed Wigan were lost.

But the Super League winners have not gained their mighty reputation by lying down and allowing the opposition to cruise home. And with Farrell probing and prompting Wigan clawed their way back; David Hodgson racing 40 metres for a touchdown and then Tony Smith accepting Farrell's pass to draw Wigan within one point at 17-16.

Saints were rocking and it seemed the next score would be vital. It could easily have gone to Wigan as they pressed relentlessly forward but instead Martyn supplied the crucial pass for Fereti Tuilagi to crash over, the Samoan assisted by Wigan winger Hodgson who went for the interception rather than the tackle.

If that sealed it then Tim Jonkers' touchdown in the last seconds rubbed in Saints' final superiority.

Over the tannoy came the announcement that many late trains back to St Helens and Wigan would not run because of staff shortages. The Wiganers had already gone - the Saints fans didn't care.

Team Sheets

- St Helens Position Wigan -
17 Paul Wellens Full Back Jason Robinson 5
24 Steve Hall Winger Brett Dallas 2
3 Kevin Iro Centre Kris Radlinski 1
15 Sean Hoppe Centre Steve Renouf 3
5 Anthony Sullivan Winger David Hodgson 26
20 Tommy Martyn Stand Off Tony Smith 6
7 Sean Long Scrum Half Willie Peters 7
8 Apollo Perelini Prop Terry O'Connor 8
9 Keiron Cunningham Hooker Terry Newton 9
10 Julian O'Neill Prop Neil Cowie 10
11 Chris Joynt 2nd Row Mick Cassidy 11
22 Tim Jonkers 2nd Row Denis Betts 12
13 Paul Sculthorpe L.Forward Andy Farrell 13
12 Sonny Nickle Substitute Lee Gilmour 14
14 Fereti Tuilagi Substitute Tony Mestrov 17
23 Scott Barrow Substitute Chris Chester 19
26 John Stankevitch Substitute Brady Malam 23
- Ian Millward Coach Frank Endacott -

Score Sheet

St Helens 29 --- Wigan Warriors 16
Sean Hoppe
Chris Joynt 2
Fereti Tuilagi
Tim Jonkers
--- Tries:
Andy Farrell
Dave Hodgson
Tony Smith
Sean Long 4
--- Goals:
Andy Farrell 2
Drop Goals:
Paul Sculthorpe 1
--- ---

Half Time

St Helens 11 Wigan 4


Russell Smith (Castleford)

Match Attendance


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