Super League Grand Final: Phil Wilkinson's talking points

Phil Wilkinson's five talking points from Wigan Warriors' 12-4 Grand Final win over Warrington.

Sunday, 14th October 2018, 11:01 am
Updated Sunday, 14th October 2018, 12:48 pm
Wigan Warriors players celebrate the club's fifth Grand Final win

1. Consider this: Wigan have won five Super League titles - and three under Shaun Wane's watch.

He also has a Challenge Cup and a rare World Club Challenge win on his Wikipedia entry - he will go down in Wigan folklore for both his three decade service in various roles and the glory he has delivered in seven years as head coach.

Emotions got the better of him at full-time - it was obvious what this victory meant to him and his players.

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2. The man of the match voting slips had been handed in before Dom Manfredi went over for his second try in the 77th minute.

Before that, the winger had also scored a try, stopped a try and returned to action after stitches on a head wound in only his fifth match since returning from a two year absence on the sidelines. He collected eight votes, four behind Stefan Ratchford who took the Harry Sunderland trophy despite being on the losing side. George Williams and Oliver Gildart were others nominated by members of the rugby league writers' association.

3. And to the game itself. It was scrappy in the first-half littered with errors and penalties.

But it settled down after the break - which featured a melee in the tunnel sparked by Bryson Goodwin shoving Morgan Escare.

Wigan showed more composure in the second-half but with only an 8-4 lead, there was a persistent nervousness until Manfredi sealed victory.

Ratchford's solo work provided much of Warrington's potency, while Escare thrived with the extra game-time - he and Romain Navarrete became the first French players to win a Grand Final.

4. Ian Botham once said the "Australian sporting mentality is never give an inch and fight to the bitter end. Then have a beer.”

And one of the best, most poignant pictures from Old Trafford was the snap tweeted by the Warriors of Warrington's Aussie coach Steve Price sitting with Wane in the Wigan dressing room, each with a beer in hand. It was a classy touch from Price, who also guided the Wolves to the Challenge Cup Final in his first year as coach.

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. Their wait for a league title rumbles on.

5. This list could easily have stretched to 10 points, so a quick round-up of talking points:

- Do referees show more leniency in Grand Finals? Price felt so, after Sam Tomkins avoided a yellow card for a trip.

- A lot was made of the three players leaving, but what about Dan Sarginson? To play on this season after his brother's death was the measure of the man - and he paid tribute to tragic Adam afterwards.

- The crowd of 64,892 was the lowest at Old Trafford since 2009.

- Don't be surprised to see the 'free play' - giving teams advantage to try adventurous plays from their opponents' knock-ons - scrapped. There were three in this game, and all just served to slow the match down.