5 things we learned from the Super League Grand Final
Wigan beat Warrington 12-4 at Old Trafford to give head coach Shaun Wane a winning send-off.
Wigan Warriors were crowned 2018 Super League champions after gaining a 12-4 victory over Warrington.
Here Press Association Sport looks at five things we learned from the 21st Grand Final at Old Trafford.
Shaun Wane will go down in Wigan folklore
The former prop forward stunned the game in May when he announced he would be leaving his home-town club at the end of the season, bringing to an end a 30-year connection. But there is no doubt the players used his impending departure as extra motivation to end the season on a high. Wane, who will take up a role as high performance coach with Scottish Rugby Union later this month, helped Wigan win the World Club challenge as both a player and coach and leaves the club with six major trophies in his seven years in charge.
Warrington still the nearly men
The Wolves had high hopes of winning their first league title for 63 years, especially when Josh Charnley gave them the lead with a 14th-minute try, but they once more came up short on the big occasion. Beaten 20-14 by Catalans Dragons in the Challenge Cup final at Wembley in August, they have now lost all four Grand Finals, three of them to Wigan.
Do referees show more leniency in Grand Finals?
No one can ever forget that Wigan prop Ben Flower was sent off for his attack to the head of St Helens half-back Lance Hohaia in 2014 but no player has ever been sin-binned in the 21 years of the Old Trafford showpiece. Referee Robert Hicks must have considered brandishing a yellow card to Wigan full-back Sam Tomkins but let him off lectures for a trip on Bryson Goodwin and use of his knees to the head of Daryl Clark.
Still only four champions in 23 years
Warrington’s defeat means they failed to break into the exclusive gang of four, St Helens, Wigan, Bradford and Leeds, who have won the league title since the introduction of Super League in 1996. A crowd of 64,892 was the lowest at Old Trafford since 2009 and suggests perhaps that the Grand Final needs a few new names in the decider to create fresh interest. This year’s semi-finals were both poorly attended yet the maiden appearance of Castleford in the Grand final 12 months ago helped generate a sell-out.
A magnifique year for the French
Wigan duo Morgan Escare and Romain Navarrete became the first Frenchmen to appear in the Super League Grand Final and both emerged with winners’ rings to cap off a tremendous year for their country. Their former club Catalans Dragons made history with a first trophy in the Challenge Cup final and Toulouse were one of the major successes in the Super 8s Qualifiers.
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