|Betfred Super League Grand Final|
|Wigan (8) 12|
|Tries: Manfredi 2, Davies|
|Warrington (4) 4|
Shaun Wane ended his tenure as Wigan Warriors head coach on a high with a gripping victory over Warrington Wolves in the Super League Grand Final.
Appointed in 2011, Wane took charge of Wigan for the final time on Saturday, leading his side to their third Grand Final triumph during that period and fifth overall.
Former Wigan winger Josh Charnley opened the scoring, but the Warriors hit back through the excellent Dom Manfredi, crossing in each half, and Tom Davies.
The result ends a disappointing first season for Warrington coach Steve Price, defeated in both domestic finals this term.
They were shocked by Catalans Dragons in the Challenge Cup final in August and have now suffered their fourth loss in the season-ending Old Trafford showpiece.
Warriors quartet end last battle with win
Boss Wane bid farewell to Wigan after a 30-year association which saw him play for the club, act as scout and coach, before taking the top job in 2011.
The 54-year-old leaves for a role at Scottish Rugby Union as one of the most successful coaches in the club’s history. He claimed three Grand Final victories, two Challenge Cups and a World Club Challenge in his seven years in charge.
Built on a solid defensive base, his troops epitomised his own character by being involved in a hard fought and – at times – scrappy contest, which made for a tense spectacle.
At the full-time hooter, Wane punched the air and galloped on to the pitch with his staff to celebrate with his victorious players.
Like Wane, full-back Sam Tomkins was also making his last appearance for Wigan before a move to French side Catalans Dragons for next season, and was lucky to keep his place on the field.
In the first half, an intentional trip brought down Bryson Goodwin who was threatening to break away, he shoved Kevin Brown in the chest off the ball and led with his knees in a tackle on Daryl Clark, but no punishment was handed out by referee Robert Hicks.
But an emotional Tomkins – in tears afterwards – ends his second spell at the DW Stadium a winner, as do Ryan Sutton and John Bateman who are both leaving to join NRL side Canberra Raiders for 2019.
Close to the Wire…again
Another Grand Final, another which ended in heartbreak for Warrington.
The primrose and blue will be sick at the sight of Wigan, having lost three in-a-row against the same opposition, with full-back and man of the match Stefan Ratchford featuring in all those games.
Their long wait for a championship also continues, last claiming the league title back in 1955, and again failing to add a new name to the trophy which has just Wigan, Leeds, St Helens and Bradford etched on it.
After their battle against relegation last term, a remarkable turnaround in their first season under Australian boss Price – who replaced Tony Smith – proved to be a case of so near, yet so far.
Warrington went ahead but looked bereft of ideas thereafter, being left frustrated by a compact defence. At one point in the game, Price threw his arms into the air and spun round in disgust after an attacker ran straight into a Wigan defender.
Trailing by just four points with 10 minutes remaining in the second half, Warrington gave it their all but could not break the Wigan resistance and were greeted by ironic chants of “it’s always your year” by the opposition fans late on.
Two returning wingers impress
Though a runner-up on this occasion, Chorley’s Charnley won three Grand Finals in a cherry and white shirt before departing to join rugby union side Sale Sharks in 2016.
The Warriors players and supporters would not have been expecting to see him again so soon, particularly in an opposition shirt.
Charnley had a difficult spell at Sale before coming back to the 13-man code with Warrington in March and immediately returned to form with 15 tries in 21 Super League games.
He added to his tally in the final by touching down in the corner from a repeat set, but Wigan responded through a player who has also had a tough couple of years.
Manfredi only made his return to action in the Super 8s after an injury-ravaged two years with a knee injury and finished off a move from Oliver Gildart’s sublime dummy which took three defenders out of the game, and adding a flying touch down late on.
His key defensive contributions were vitally important too with some confident running from the backline and bundling Tom Lineham out of play when the Warrington winger was poised to score.
‘Wire were authors of own downfall’ – analysis
Ex-Great Britain coach Brian Noble on BBC Radio 5 live
The team ethic from Wigan was outstanding – they executed their plays and Warrington didn’t. They had plenty of opportunities but the kicking, chasing and collective game from Wigan is the reason they’ve got over the line.
Warrington were the author of their own downfall, they just couldn’t finish their plays and their kicking game wasn’t as good as Wigan’s.
Former Great Britain and Wales international Iestyn Harris on BBC Radio 5 live
Fully deserved by Wigan Warriors. From the start of the top eight they haven’t lost a match.
They were brilliant in the semi-final last week and they’ve absolutely strangled the life out of Warrington Wolves tonight.
Warrington had their opportunities but they haven’t taken them.
Wigan: Tomkins, Manfredi, Gildart, Sarginson, Davies, Williams, Leuluai, Navarrete, Powell, Flower, Greenwood, Bateman, O’Loughlin.
Substitutes: Clubb, Farrell, Sutton, Escare.
Warrington: Ratchford, Lineham, Goodwin, King, Charnley, Brown, Roberts, Hill, Clark, Cooper, Thompson, Hughes, Westwood.
Substitutes: Murdoch-Masila, Patton, Philbin, King.
Referee: Robert Hicks