Wigan Warriors 4 Salford Red Devils 28

Morgan Smithies in action against Salford
Morgan Smithies in action against Salford

Wigan's Grand Final hopes were crushed as Salford made Super League history at the DW Stadium.

The hosts trailed 28-0 when Bevan French slid over in the 72nd minute, sparing them the indignity of being nilled at home for the first time in Super League, but the game had long gone.

And so Adrian Lam's dream of completing a remarkable transformation - from ninth, to second, to within 80 minutes of Old Trafford - disappointingly fell a hurdle short.

Salford only scored three tries - Krisnan Inu inflicted a lot of the damage with the boot, striking eight goals - but they were dominant throughout, and out-played the hosts across the board.

The Warriors looked tired; whether their derby mauling had taken a lot out of them or whether it was a successive off-day is unclear, but they simply never got going.

Salford, roared on by nearly 4,000 fans, have been breaking down glass-barriers and exceeding expectations all season.

And they did it again, relishing in their underdog tag to book their first Grand Final spot - against St Helens - and become the eighth different side to appear in the title-decider.

There was nothing flashy about their display, but they ramped it up, completed their sets, exhibited smart attacking options and harassed the Warriors.

"I don't know how we did it," said Wigan-bound half Jackson Hastings. "I've never cried from happiness before, but I'm so proud."

Lam, as promised, gave the team which lost 40-10 at St Helens a chance to redeem themselves, with props Ben Flower and Tony Clubb swapping spots the only change.

They were caught cold a week ago and they looked rattled early on.

Their opening 15 minutes featured three penalties, two kicks out on the full and as many knock-ons... little wonder they found themselves 10-0 down.

Krisnan Inu had already booted two penalties before in-form Gil Dudson charged over for a converted try.

During the first-half, Wigan lost Thomas Leuluai to a head knock. Bevan French replaced the Kiwi and provided many of their brighter moments.

Centre Oliver Gildart also ran with determination but too often, their attack lacked both ideas and energy.

When it looked like they might make a break before half-time through Gildart, Ben Thaler pinged Wigan for obstruction - and handed Inu a chance to make it 12-0.

The consensus at the break seemed to be the Warriors would both need to improve and score first.

But Salford, who had won only one of 22 previous visits to the DW, stretched their lead soon after the restart through Joey Lussick. Inu's conversion and penalty before the hour-mark opened up a 20-point lead.

And then Salford captain Lee Mossop - angered by Phil Clarke's 'Championship-standard' comments - crashed over from Dudson's pass to stretch their lead and spark wild celebrations in the North Stand.

Inu's conversion and subsequent penalty swelled their advantage before French had the final say.

Wigan: Hardaker; Marshall, Hankinson, Gildart, Burgess; Williams, Leuluai; Flower, Powell, Partington, Isa, Farrell, O'Loughlin. Subs: Clubb, Byrne, Smithies, French.

Salford: Evalds; Sio, Welham, Bibby, Inu; Lolohea, Hastings; Mossop, Tomkins, Dudson, Jones, Griffin, McCarthy. Subs: Lussick, Flanagan, Walker, Burke.

Half-time: 0-12