Super League Grand Final: Wigan Warriors grim and grand in record fightback against Warrington Wolves

Warriors came back to win from 16-2 deficit at Old Trafford

Wigan, including six members of England’s World Cup squad, showed the sort of resilience that will be needed in the global tournament after their fine comeback to win the Super League Grand Final and do the double.

In the last game of the domestic season the Warriors battled back from a 16-2 deficit to beat Warrington 30-16 at Old Trafford. It was not so much one outstanding Grand Final as two entirely different ones, joined at the hip.

Grimly determined would be another way of putting it and the England coach, Steve McNamara, will be hoping that he can tap into that sort of spirit when the World Cup starts on 26 October.

The Wolves dominated the first half, but Shaun Wane’s men came up with the biggest-ever Super League fightback. There was little pretty about it and nothing too clever. “But they were just relentless,” said the Warrington coach, Tony Smith, in charge of the losing side for the second year running.

Wigan’s usually potent right-wing partnership of Darrell Goulding and Josh Charnley, for instance, had a nightmare first half, but stuck to their task to play a major part in their side’s resurgence.

Michael McIlorum ran Blake Green close for the Harry Sunderland Medal as man of the match with a non-stop display at hooker, which showed why he is a challenger to James Roby for that position in the England team.

Sam Tomkins bade farewell to the Wigan shirt with a steadying game at full-back. The New Zealand Warriors are getting a player who will be badly missed in Super League.

For most of the fortnight leading up to the Grand Final, it seemed that Wigan would badly miss Sean O’Loughlin at Old Trafford, but the Warriors’ captain got rid of the cast on his ankle and played a leader’s role.

When he limped off in the second half, it looked as though that would be the end of his contribution. After seven minutes, however, he was back – and he provided the long pass to Pat Richards for the game’s final try.

McNamara will be keeping his fingers crossed now that O’Loughlin has come through without aggravating his Achilles problem, because he has no convincing rival for the job of England loose-forward.

It will be forgotten in the long term that Warrington did everything right in the first half, except the blatant punch in the face which Ben Westwood gave Green after only two minutes. Westwood got away with it at the time, although the RFL will look at the incident this week. Outstanding player though he is, getting himself sent off at the start of a match against Australia or New Zealand would be the sort of hot-headedness England cannot afford.

Wigan’s Harrison Hansen could also face action for the “cannonball” tackle on Stefan Ratchford that left him with ligament damage in both ankles.

Warrington have rebuilding to do, with the departure of Adrian Morley, Garreth Carvell and Brett Hodgson, but it was hard to disagree with Smith when he promised that they would be there or thereabouts again next season.

As for Wigan, they will be content to continue to overachieve,  although whether anyone can be persuaded to encourage them by writing them off for next season must be open to doubt.

Suggested Topics
News
Kenny Ireland, pictured in 2010.
peopleActor, from House of Cards and Benidorm, was 68
News
A scene from the video shows students mock rioting
newsEnd-of-year leaver's YouTube film features staging of a playground gun massacre
Travel
travel
Environment
View from the Llanberis Track to the mountain lake Llyn
Du’r Arddu
environmentA large chunk of Mount Snowdon, in north Wales, is up for sale
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Voices
A family sit and enjoy a quiet train journey
voicesForcing us to overhear dull phone conversations is an offensive act, says Simon Kelner
News
i100This Instagram photo does not prove Russian army is in Ukraine
News
Morrissey pictured in 2013
people
Sport
sportVan Gaal has £500,000 video surveillance system installed to monitor Manchester United players
Arts and Entertainment
The Secret Cinema performance of Back to the Future has been cancelled again
filmReview: Sometimes the immersive experience was so good it blurred the line between fiction and reality
Arts and Entertainment
Sydney and Melbourne are locked in a row over giant milk crates
art
News
i100
Life and Style
The director of Wall-E Andrew Stanton with Angus MacLane's Lego model
gadgetsDesign made in Pixar animator’s spare time could get retail release
News
peopleGuitarist, who played with Aerosmith, Lou Reed and Alice Cooper among others, was 71
Environment
Tyred out: should fair weather cyclists have a separate slow lane?
environmentFormer Labour minister demands 'pootling lanes' for women cyclists
News
people
News
i100  ... he was into holy war way before it was on trend
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

Dress the Gaza situation up all you like, but the truth hurts

Robert Fisk on Gaza conflict

Dress the situation up all you like, but the truth hurts
Save the tiger: Tiger, tiger burning less brightly as numbers plummet

Tiger, tiger burning less brightly

When William Blake wrote his famous poem there were probably more than 100,000 tigers in the wild. These days they probably number around 3,200
5 News's Andy Bell retraces his grandfather's steps on the First World War battlefields

In grandfather's footsteps

5 News's political editor Andy Bell only knows his grandfather from the compelling diary he kept during WWI. But when he returned to the killing fields where Edwin Vaughan suffered so much, his ancestor came to life
Lifestyle guru Martha Stewart reveals she has flying robot ... to take photos of her farm

Martha Stewart has flying robot

The lifestyle guru used the drone to get a bird's eye view her 153-acre farm in Bedford, New York
Former Labour minister Meg Hillier has demanded 'pootling lanes' for women cyclists

Do women cyclists need 'pootling lanes'?

Simon Usborne (who's more of a hurtler) explains why winning the space race is key to happy riding
A tale of two presidents: George W Bush downs his paintbrush to pen father’s life story

A tale of two presidents

George W Bush downs his paintbrush to pen father’s life story
Restaurateur Mitch Tonks has given the Great Western Pullman dining car a makeover

The dining car makes a comeback

Restaurateur Mitch Tonks has given the Great Western Pullman dining car a makeover
Gallery rage: How are institutions tackling the discomfort of overcrowding this summer?

Gallery rage

How are institutions tackling the discomfort of overcrowding this summer?
Louis van Gaal has £500,000 video surveillance system installed to monitor Manchester United players

Eye on the prize

Louis van Gaal has £500,000 video surveillance system installed to monitor Manchester United players
Women's rugby: Tamara Taylor adds fuel to the ire in quest to land World Cup

Women's rugby

Tamara Taylor adds fuel to the ire in quest to land World Cup
Save the tiger: The day America’s love of backyard tigers led to a horrific bloodbath

The day America’s love of backyard tigers led to a horrific bloodbath

With only six per cent of the US population of these amazing big cats held in zoos, the Zanesville incident in 2011 was inevitable
Samuel Beckett's biographer reveals secrets of the writer's time as a French Resistance spy

How Samuel Beckett became a French Resistance spy

As this year's Samuel Beckett festival opens in Enniskillen, James Knowlson, recalls how the Irish writer risked his life for liberty and narrowly escaped capture by the Gestapo
We will remember them: relatives still honour those who fought in the Great War

We will remember them

Relatives still honour those who fought in the Great War
Star Wars Episode VII is being shot on film - and now Kodak is launching a last-ditch bid to keep celluloid alive

Kodak's last-ditch bid to keep celluloid alive

Director J J Abrams and a few digital refuseniks shoot movies on film. Simon Usborne wonders what the fuss is about
Once stilted and melodramatic, Hollywood is giving acting in video games a makeover

Acting in video games gets a makeover

David Crookes meets two of the genre's most popular voices