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Grand Final Match Report: St Helens 14 Wigan 6
Posted by Bilko on October 12 2014 - 14:05

Click: Last Match - Click: Next Match

Saturday 11th October 2014
St Helens 14 Wigan Warriors 6
Old Trafford, Manchester
First Utility Super League 19 Grand Final

Kick Off 6:00pm


- Wigan       - St Helens    
1 Matty Bowen       17 Paul Wellens    
2 Josh Charnley       2 Tommy Makinson  T   
5 Anthony Gelling       22 Mark Percival    G3 
23 Dan Sarginson       4 Josh Jones    
5 Joe Burgess  T      5 Adam Swift    
6 Blake Green       15 Mark Flanagan    
7 Matty Smith    G    6 Lance Hohaia    
10 Ben Flower       16 Kyle Amor    
19 Sam Powell       9 James Roby    

Dom Crosby


Mose Masoe

11 Joel Tomkins       10 Louie McCarthy-Scarsbrook    
12 Liam Farrell       11 Iosia Soliola  T   
13 Sean O'Loughlin       3 Jordan Turner    
22 Eddy Pettybourne       14 Willie Manu    
24 Tony Clubb       18 Alex Walmsley    
25 John Bateman       27 Greg Richards    
27 George Williams       28 Luke Thompson    


Perhaps that was revenge 54 years in the making for St Helens? In the 1959-1960 season Saints had romped through the regular season winning 34 of 38 matches, finishing thirteen points clear of Wigan and beating them home and away in doing so.

The sides went on to meet in a play off semi final at Knowsley Road, ironically played on a Saturday Evening, and, in a match marred by send offs to both Saints' Alex Murphy and Wigan's Mick Sullivan, Wigan won 19-9 and Saints were declared in one newspaper as "the champions that never were".

It won't matter to Saints fans how they won it but for me "champions that never were" is how I'll remember this Grand Final.

No point vilifying Ben Flower because he'll feel bad enough. He certainly copped an elbow on the jaw from Lance Hohaia but I think we all understand that he took his reaction too far. Already out cold or not, to hit a man who is laid down on the floor is poor. You couldn't argue with the red card. An action you just cannot defend.

Must admit at the time I hadn't noticed the elbow to the jaw. In hindsight you could argue Hohaia could have been sent off as well but the fact Flower did what he did took the focus totally away from that. It doesn't matter what's occurred, it's going to be hard for any official to send off a player who's just been sparked out. Overall I thought the officials had a fantastic game.

I'm in no doubt that one incident cost us the game. The amount of overlaps we made with a man short was ridiculous but the extra man just allowed Saints enough scramble to avoid us punishing them. I think we would have punished them severely out wide with thirteen men, particularly on the wing defended by Adam Swift.

I thought Saints were pretty poor in attack considering the extra man. Fair enough the loss of a half back was a blow to their attacking structure but they barely went wide all game and never really cut us up at any stage. They were fortunate for the play of James Roby. For me, he was the only attacking threat they had and three or four sparks out of dummy half during the game proved enough for them to get the job done.

The loss of Mike McIlorum was really felt in that regard. I think it was the right call to sit him out with a smashed eye socket but his replacement Sam Powell registered just ten metres during the game. I've said on the radio during recent good wins that it's clear we dropped in pace when Powell replaced McIlorum and I don't care what anyone says, just ten metres from a hooker in a final is being far too predictable. Basically he's passing every time from marker and never scooting. Whether that is tactics or not I don't know but in comparison George Williams made 68 metres in much more limited game time. I wonder what might have been for Wigan had he started?

The two missed goal kicks proved costly as well, particularly the penalty goal shot that would of made it 8-8. We lost to Saints at home in June on missed goal kicks and arguably did the same here, regardless of the send off. Kicks are so vital and for that one to not even go dead for a twenty metre drop out was perhaps the game killer? It meant that when Saints found a try on 68 minutes, we were always needing two tries and that took the pressure right of Saints late in a game. That's the small margin a quality goal kicker can bring you.

I might have questioned the small margins above but we can't really complain about the overall effort of the sixteen that remained. To play a man down for 78 minutes is an incredibly hard job in any game, never mind a final. The spirit and desire shown was fantastic and I'm immensely proud of that effort in difficult circumstances.

The irony of this season for me is that our performances, in the big games at least, this year were far, far better than last season yet we won the double last year and have nothing at all to show from this one.

So I'm certainly not doom and gloom. We were a send off away from back to back titles, despite losing some immense talent from our attack last off season in Sam Tomkins and Pat Richards. We Wigan fans need to remember that. This is a young side that should grow better.

As for Saints. They did it tough this year and it doesn't matter how you win it, their name is on the trophy at the end of the day. I'd have certainly have taken any Grand Final win like that between 2000 and 2009.

I'm a Wigan fan who counts himself lucky that I've got to see my town play in numerous finals constantly over the years and being in so many means your bound to lose some of them. That's the way I look at it. Fans of other clubs are not so lucky and that's why I'm not going to get too upset about a loss like this. I really don't mind them enjoying their bouquet of flowers for once, because I know we will be back!!!

02mins:03 Wigan Red Card Ben Flower (Punching)
16mins:14 St Helens 00 Wigan 02 Penalty Goal: Matty Smith (1/1)
29mins:46 St Helens 02 Wigan 02 Penalty Goal: Mark Percival (1/1)
39mins:41 St Helens 02 Wigan 06 Try: Joe Burgess
- St Helens 02 Wigan 06 Missed Conv: Matty Smith (1/2)
Half Time St Helens 02 Wigan Warriors 06
53mins:09 St Helens 06 Wigan 06 Try: Sia Soliola
- St Helens 08 Wigan 06 Conversion: Mark Percival (2/2)
63mins:29 St Helens 08 Wigan 06 Missed Penalty Goal: Matty Smith (1/3)
68mins:24 St Helens 12 Wigan 06 Try: Tommy Makinson
- St Helens 14 Wigan 06 Conversion: Mark Percival (3/3)
Full Time St Helens 14 Wigan Warriors 06

Phil Bentham



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