Shaun Wane put what he called his ‘best win’ down to an unrivalled team spirit in the Warriors camp.
His Wigan side fought back from a 6-2 half-time deficit to beat Warrington Wolves 12-6 in the Grand Final at Old Trafford, with tries from Oliver Gildart and Josh Charnley sealing the win.
And Wane, drenched in champagne from the post-match celebrations, couldn’t hide his satisfaction with the finish to a season fraught with ups, downs and controversy.
“Without a doubt the best win that we’ve ever had,” he told press after the final hooter.
“I’ve been here for 30 years as a player and coach and I can’t remember a better win.
“People don’t know the half of what’s gone on because I couldn’t publically say, but these two at the side of me (Sean O’Loughlin and Liam Farrell) know what’s gone on and what we’ve been through.”
Captain O’Loughlin was named on the bench, and made his first appearance since August to help guide Wigan to a fourth Grand Final win, and arrest a run of two successive defeats in the title decider.
And with Farrell picking-up the Harry Sunderland Trophy for his man-of-the-match display, the Wigan coach heaped praise on the ability of his club to produce homegrown stars.
“(Lockers) did team run and the session before did a light sessions so he’s done everything I wanted him to do,” explained Wane.
“I was always going to pick him. He’s my captain, he’s my mate, he’s my leader.
“To sit here before you all as the coach of the team and my captain’s a Wiganer, my man-of-the-match is a Wiganer, all come through the system, it’s something we should be really proud of.”
Bringing the Super League trophy home underlines an end-of-season run which saw Warriors overcome the competition’s top sides following a year where injuries and criticism from some quarters for a stuttering attack have provided an unwanted undercurrent to 2016.
But Wane says behind closed doors, the spirit within the camp has never been diluted.
“The majority of our fans have got behind us and been really loyal,” he explained.
“The spirit of the club is second to none. We’ve had some ups and downs this year but that’s never wavered.
“It’s a never say die attitude and there wasn’t a time today I thought we’d lose that game.
“I don’t mean that in a disrespectful way, I have every respect for Warrington and Tony (Smith) and what Simon (Moran) has done there, but I just knew that we could get it.”