Semi-final countdown: The road to Wembley

Wigan reached Wembley by beating St Helens in 2011
Wigan reached Wembley by beating St Helens in 2011

Ahead of Wigan’s Challenge Cup semi-final against Salford, Tom McCooey takes a look at the Warriors’ last five attempts to get to Wembley.

With Salford not reaching the last four since 1998, when Sheffield Eagles blocked their path to Wembley, Wigan have reached the semi-finals 10 times during that run.

Warriors reached the final in 1998, 2002, 2003, 2004 and 2007 - reaching the decider on three of those occasions.

Here is how Warriors have fared since the semi-final of 2009.

2009

Warrington 39 Wigan 26

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Stobart Stadium, Widnes

A first chance to reach Wembley since the horror loss to Catalans in 2007 didn’t go well for Wigan.

After taking an 8-0 lead through a Phil Bailey try and two Pat Richards goals which took him past 1,000 points for Wigan, Warrington took control to lead 28-8 at the break.

Sam Tomkins, Andy Coley and Tommy Leuluai scored after the break but the damage was already done, meaning Stuart Fielden’s 100th Wigan game ended in a loss.

Wigan: Cameron Phelps, Amos Roberts, Martin Gleeson, George Carmont, Pat Richards, Sam Tomkins, Thomas Leuluai, Paul Prescott, Mark Riddell, Andy Coley, Phil Bailey, Harrison Hansen, Sean O’Loughlin

Subs: Stuart Fielden, Iafeta Paleaaesina, Joel Tomkins, Mark Flanagan

Warrington: Richard Mathers, Chris Hicks, Chris Bridge, Matt King, Chris Riley, Lee Briers, Michael Monaghan, Adrian Morley, Jon Clarke, Garreth Carvell, Louis Anderson, Ben Harrison, Ben Westwood

Subs: Paul Johnson, Paul Rauhihi, Vinnie Anderson, Mike Cooper

Wigan tries: Phil Bailey, Sam Tomkins, Andy Coley, Thomas Leuluai

Goals: Pat Richards 5

Warrington tries: Matt King 3, Louis Anderson, Lee Briers, Mike Cooper, Chris Hicks

Goals: Chris Bridge 5, drop goal Lee Briers

Referee: Steve Ganson

Attendance: 12,975

2011

Wigan 18 St Helens 12

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Halliwell Jones Stadium, Warrington

After going behind to an early Jamie Foster penalty goal, Wigan never looked liked letting this opportunity slip once George Carmont scored to put Warriors in front at the break.

Josh Charnley and Sam Tomkins scored second-half tries to ensure Foster’s double was no threat to Wigan’s first trip to a final since 2004 and a first at Wembley since 1998.

Wigan went on to beat Leeds in the final.

Wigan: Sam Tomkins, Josh Charnley, Joel Tomkins, George Carmont, Pat Richards, Brett Finch, Paul Deacon, Jeff Lima, Thomas Leuluai, Andy Coley, Harrison Hansen, Ryan Hoffman, Sean O’Loughlin

Subs: Michael McIlorum, Lee Mossop,Liam Farrell, Ben Cross

St Helens: Paul Wellens, Tom Makinson, Michael Shenton, Francis Meli, Jamie Foster, Leon Pryce, Jonny Lomax, James Graham, James Roby, Tony Puletua, Chris Flannery, Iosia Soliola, Jon Wilkin

Subs: Scott Moore, Louie McCarthy-Scarsbrook, Paul Clough, Lee Gaskell

Wigan tries: George Carmont, Josh Charnley, Sam Tomkins

Goals: Pat Ricahrds 3

St Helens tries: Jamie Foster 2

Goals: Jamie Foster 2

Referee:Richard Silverwood

Attendance: 12,713

2012

Leeds 39 Wigan 28

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Galpharm Stadium, Huddersfield

Despite scoring five tries against Leeds, holders Wigan were never in front as Leeds knocked the holders out of the Cup.

Tries from Gareth Hock and George Carmont helped Wigan back to 16-12 with a quarter of the game gone but the Rhinos took control to lead 30-20 at the break and go on to win.

After the game coach Shaun Wane labelled the defeat Wigan’s ‘worst performance’.

Leeds: Zak Hardaker, Ben Jones-Bishop, Kallum Watkins, Carl Ablett, Ryan Hall, Kevin Sinfield, Danny McGuire, Kylie Leuluai, Rob Burrow, Jamie Peacock, Jamie Jones-Buchanan, Brett Delaney, Ryan Bailey

Subs: Ian Kirke, Darrell Griffin, Stevie Ward, Shaun Lunt

Wigan: Sam Tomkins, Josh Charnley, Darrell Goulding, George Carmont, Anthony Gelling, Sean O’Loughlin, Brett Finch, Jeff Lima, Michael McIlorum, Lee Mossop, Harrison Hansen, Gareth Hock, Chris Tuson

Subs: Liam Farrell, Epalahame Lauaki, Ben FLower, Jack Hughes

Leeds tries: Ryan Hall 2, Ben Jones-Bishop 2, Zak Hardaker 2, Ryan Bailey

Goals: Kevin SInfield 5 + 1 drop goal

Wigan tries: George Carmont, Gareth Hock, Ben Flower, Sean O’Loughlin, Josh Charnley

Goals: Sam Tomkins 4

Attendance: 12,860

Referee: Ben Thaler

2013

Wigan 70 London 0

Saturday, July 27, 2013

Leigh Sports Village

The ‘neutral’ venue of Leigh Sports Village was chosen for Wigan’s third semi-final in a row, probably because of Wigan’s larger fan base.

But there could be no arguments about advantages as the 13-try Warriors ran riot.

At 34-0 up at the break, it was always a case of ‘how many’ rather than ‘who will win’.

A happier Wane said: “I’m ecstatic. I’m really pleased for the players that we’ve got to Wembley, especially after last year’s disappointment. I can’t tell you how proud I am.”

Wigan went on to beat Hull FC in the final and complete the double that season with a Grand Final win over Warrington.

Wigan: Sam Tomkins, Josh Charnley, Darrell Goulding, Iain Thornley, Pat Richards, Blake Green, Matty Smith, Gil Dudson, Michael McIlorum, Lee Mossop, Harrison Hansen, Liam Farrell, Sean O’Loughlin

Subs: Ben Flower, Chris Tuson, Scott Taylor, Logan Tomkins

London: Luke Dorn, Liam Colbon, Michael Robertson, Rhodri Lloyd, Dan Sarginson, Jamie O’Callaghan, Jamie Soward, Matt Cook, Tommy Lee, Mark Bryant, Shane Rodney, Antonio Kaufusi, Jacob Fairbank

Subs: Scott Wheeldon, Olsi Kransniqi, Mike McMeekan, Ben Fisher

Wigan tries: Pat Richards 2, Josh Charnley 2, Darrell Goulding, Lee Mossop, Sam Tomkins, Balke Green, Scott Taylor, Matty Smith, Liam Farrell, Iain Thornley

Goals: Pat Richards 11

Attendance: 6,274

Referee: Phil Bentham

2016

Wigan 12 Hull FC 16

Friday, July 29, 2016

Keepmoat Stadium, Doncaster

In contrast to 2013, Wigan’s fans were outnumbered by their Hull counterparts, making for an intimidating atmosphere at Doncaster.

George Williams’ try had Wigan 6-2 up at the break but Steve Michaels and Fetuli Talanoa scored for Hull to put them in charge with half an hour to go.

Wigan rallied with a try from Willie Isa but it was too late to save Wigan, and Hull went on to end their unwanted record of never having won at Wembley by beating Warrington in the final.

Wigan: Sam Tomkins, Dom Manfredi, Dan Sarginson, Oliver Gildart, Lewis Tierney, George Williams, Matty Smith, Ryan Sutton, Sam Powell, Ben Flower, John Bateman, Willie Isa, Sean O’Loughlin

Subs: Dom Crosby, Lee Mossop, Taulima Tautai, Joe Bretherton

Hull FC: Jamie Shaul, Steve Michaels, Mahe Fonua, Kirk Yeaman, Fetuli Talanoa, Carlos Tuimavave, Marc Sneyd, Scott Taylor, Danny Houghton, Liam Watts, Sika Manu, Mark Minichiello

Subs: Chris Green, Jordan Thompson, Frank Pritchard, Danny Washbrook

Wigan tries: George Williams, Willie Isa

Goals: Matty Smith 2

Hull FC tries: Steve Michaels, Fetulia Talanoa

Goals: March Sneyd 4

Referee: Ben Thaler

Attendance: 10,488