Gleeson's super for wonderful Wigan

Wigan 22 St Helens 10: Centre makes perfect start with quick-fire double against his old team as Warriors land Grand Final for first time in dozen years

Wigan ended a 12-year wait for a Super League title with a commanding performance, spearheaded by Martin Gleeson and Sam Tomkins.

Gleeson scored the first two tries and set up the third as the Warriors started the Grand Final in unstoppable style, while Tomkins was a recurring torment with his incursions from full-back. It meant Wigan won a trophy in Michael Maguire's first season as coach, dooming Saints to a fourth defeat in a row as Mick Potter ended his two-year stint in charge without silverware.

After a minute's silence in memory of Terry Newton which was, mysteriously, rather better observed at the St Helens end of Old Trafford, it was the Warriors who dominated the first 25 minutes and could have been further ahead than the 16 points they had on the board before Saints scored.

While they looked super sharp, Saints made some basic errors, starting with Sia Soliola putting a loose pass on the ground. Wigan pounced on that possession, moving the ball crisply to the right, where Sam Tomkins came into the line to release Gleeson – who is enough of a veteran of Grand Finals to have scored here for Saints against Bradford in 2002.

The former Great Britain centre has unearthed some of his old form at just the right time and, after 15 minutes that featured some desperate Saints defence against three consecutive sets, he was over again.

Sam Tomkins started the scoring thrust with a run that took him outside Jonny Lomax and Thomas Leuluai and Paul Deacon were in support to tee up the try for Gleeson.

Wigan surged clear when Deacon hoisted a high kick which Saints could not defuse. The ball went right yet again, with Gleeson this time turning try-maker with the scoring pass to Darrell Goulding, with Pat Richards adding his second goal.

Saints did not have an attack worthy of the name until the 24th minute, when Francis Meli was taken into touch by Goulding. They got on to the scoreboard soon after, however, when an offside penalty put them on the offensive and Jon Wilkin angled his run and pass to put the substitute forward, Andrew Dixon, over.

It was Keiron Cunningham's last game for Saints, but it was the introduction of James Roby in his place that coincided with Saints' revival to cut Wigan's half-time lead to 16-6.

The other worry for Wigan was the loss of Richards with an achillesinjury. Three minutes into the second half, Mark Riddell missed a penalty the Man of Steel would surelyhave kicked after Leuluai had the ball stripped from him on the line.

Saints rallied and created a couple of chances that they could not take, but after 52 minutes they were on the back foot again, thanks to the sublime self-confidence of Sam Tomkins. Taking man of the match Leuluai's pass, he seemed obliged to keep the ball moving. Instead, he took on the defence and reached through a two-man tackle to plant the ball over.

Saints' struggle to control Sam Tomkins saw Meli flatten him with a high tackle and a second penalty for a late challenge by Soliola gave Riddell an unmissable two points. Liam Farrell had a try disallowed for an obstruction, but the Warriors still closed in on the prize. The pressure told on Saints with some basic errors and petulant penalties. At least Saints managed one last gesture of defiance when, with seven minutes to play, Meli got over from Matty Smith's pass.

Wigan S Tomkins; Goulding, Gleeson, Carmont, Richards; Deacon, Leuluai; Fielden, McIlorum, Coley, Hansen, J.Tomkins, O'Loughlin. Substitutes used Paleaaesina, Riddell, Prescott, Farrell.

St Helens Wellens; Foster, Gidley, Meli, Lomax; Wilkin, Smith; Graham, Cunningham, Hargreaves, Soliola, Flannery, Puletua. Substitutes used Roby, Clough, Dixon, Emmitt.

Referee R.Silverwood (Mirfield).

What they said

Sean O'Loughlin (Wigan captain): "It's the best feeling. It's testament to all the players and all the coaches, and it's been a fantastic effort. We got points on the board to put them under pressure."

Michael Maguire (Wigan coach): "It's great to see them celebrating. This is a very special group and if they carry on working hard and doing the same things, then there's more to come."

Thomas Leuluai (Harry Sunderland Trophy winner): "It's awesome. We've worked hard for each other, through our highs and lows."

Mick Potter (St Helens coach): "We did some things we didn't practise for in the first 20 minutes, and started off on the back foot. You put yourselves under pressure (like that) and you have to come up with plays and do things you don't really want to do. We burned a lot of energy in those first 20 minutes. I wouldn't say it was won and lost there, but it contributed. When you get that far behind in a Grand Final, it's hard to come back. Keiron (Cunningham) has said a few words about how much he's enjoyed it. I think he'd like to carry on, but he knows he's had enough. I've tried my hardest for the club – the players have been fantastic over the last two years."

Suggested Topics
Voices
There will be a chance to bid for a rare example of the SAS Diary, collated by a former member of the regiment in the aftermath of World War II but only published – in a limited run of just 5,000 – in 2011
charity appealTime is running out to secure your favourite lot as our auction closes at 2pm today
News
Elton John and David Furnish exchange marriage vows
peopleSinger posts pictures of nuptials throughout the day
News
File: James Woods attends the 52nd New York Film Festival at Walter Reade Theater on September 27, 2014
peopleActor was tweeting in wake of NYPD police shooting
Sport
Martin Skrtel heads in the dramatic equaliser
SPORTLiverpool vs Arsenal match report: Bandaged Martin Skrtel heads home in the 97th-minute
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history - clocks, rifles, frogmen’s uniforms and colonial helmets

Clocks, rifles, swords, frogmen’s uniforms

Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history
Return to Gaza: Four months on, the wounds left by Israel's bombardment have not yet healed

Four months after the bombardment, Gaza’s wounds are yet to heal

Kim Sengupta is reunited with a man whose plight mirrors the suffering of the Palestinian people
Gastric surgery: Is it really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Is gastric surgery really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Critics argue that it’s crazy to operate on healthy people just to stop them eating
Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction Part 2 - now LIVE

Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction

Bid on original art, or trips of a lifetime to Africa or the 'Corrie' set, and help Homeless Veterans
Pantomime rings the changes to welcome autistic theatre-goers

Autism-friendly theatre

Pantomime leads the pack in quest to welcome all
The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

Sony suffered a chorus of disapproval after it withdrew 'The Interview', but it's not too late for it to take a stand, says Joan Smith
From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?

Panto dames: before and after

From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?
Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Booksellers say readers are turning away from dark modern thrillers and back to the golden age of crime writing
Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best,' says founder of JustGiving

Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best'

Ten million of us have used the JustGiving website to donate to good causes. Its co-founder says that being dynamic is as important as being kind
The botanist who hunts for giant trees at Kew Gardens

The man who hunts giants

A Kew Gardens botanist has found 25 new large tree species - and he's sure there are more out there
The 12 ways of Christmas: Spare a thought for those who will be working to keep others safe during the festive season

The 12 ways of Christmas

We speak to a dozen people who will be working to keep others safe, happy and healthy over the holidays
Birdwatching men have a lot in common with their feathered friends, new study shows

The male exhibits strange behaviour

A new study shows that birdwatching men have a lot in common with their feathered friends...
Diaries of Evelyn Waugh, Virginia Woolf and Noël Coward reveal how they coped with the December blues

Famous diaries: Christmas week in history

Noël Coward parties into the night, Alan Clark bemoans the cost of servants, Evelyn Waugh ponders his drinking…
From noble to narky, the fall of the open letter

From noble to narky, the fall of the open letter

The great tradition of St Paul and Zola reached its nadir with a hungry worker's rant to Russell Brand, says DJ Taylor
A Christmas ghost story by Alison Moore: A prodigal daughter has a breakthrough

A Christmas ghost story by Alison Moore

The story was published earlier this month in 'Poor Souls' Light: Seven Curious Tales'