Jack Welsby's last-gasp try saw St Helens defend their Super League title in remarkable fashion in a low-scoring 8-4 victory over rivals Wigan Warriors at the KCOM Stadium.

Saints had tied things up late on in Hull through Lachlan Coote's penalty after Jake Bibby had scored the first try of the game for Wigan in the 66th minute.

Zak Hardaker missed a penalty of his own for Wigan and drama ensued when Zak Makinson's drop-goal for Saints hit the post.

Welsby reacted quickest to the rebound to score for Saints, who had peppered the Wigan tryline in the first half but led just 2-0 at the break, to make it back-to-back Grand Final triumphs.

It means veteran James Graham retires on top in the first Grand Final held away from Old Trafford, but for legendary Warriors star Sean O'Loughlin it was a heart-breaking end to a fine career.

Wigan, League Leaders Shield winners, have now lost three of the four Grand Finals they have played against their fierce rivals. 

Wigan Warriors powered through to another Super League Grand Final with a 29-2 thumping of Hull FC - setting up a grandstand conclusion to the career of club captain Sean O'Loughlin. 

Tries from Joe Burgess, Harry Smith, Zak Hardaker, Jake Bibby and Bevan French saw Wigan swamp their opponents in the first semi-final. 

St Helens and Catalans Dragons will do battle on Friday for the right to face the Cherry and Whites in next week's trophy match. 

O'Loughlin, who turns 38 next week, will retire at the end of the season and was thrilled to play his part in a resounding victory at the DW Stadium. 

The one-club man made his Wigan debut in 2002 and has been part of four Super League title-winning teams, most recently two years ago. 

To make it five would be a dream way to bow out. 

O'Loughlin said on Sky Sports: "I'm just overwhelmed we've reached a Grand Final. 

"It's weird playing here empty, a strange feeling, but I'm very honoured I got one more opportunity to play one more game here. Bring on next week. 

"It'd be special [to win the Grand Final]. There's not going to be an opportunity to celebrate with fans, but to get one more trophy would make it special."

Burgess put the finishing touch to a string of slick passes as he dashed through in the left corner for Wigan's first try in the 27th minute, before his kick through was grasped by Smith for the home side's second. 

The game was testy at times, with fractious exchanges between players despite it being played behind closed doors. 

Hardaker and Bibby put Wigan out of sight before French raced through in the 79th minute for his 13th try of the season, completing a polished performance. 

Wigan Warriors captain Sean O'Loughlin has confirmed he will bring his career to an end following the conclusion of the 2020 Super League season. 

O'Loughlin has made 457 appearances for Wigan during a 19-year spell, winning ten major honours with the club. 

The Warriors captain, 37, has won 22 caps for England and 11 for Great Britain at international level. 

However, after struggling with injury this season, O'Loughlin has elected to call time on his playing career once the campaign is over - potentially with a Grand Final appearance.

"I've loved every minute of it. Even seasons when we've not won trophies, I've enjoyed playing," O'Loughlin told Wigan's official website.  

"The reason you start playing as a kid is because you enjoy it and I don't think I've ever lost that enjoyment. It's got more difficult as you get older, but the enjoyment is still there.    

"I want to say a big thank you to the fans. As a player you go out there and having a supportive crowd inspires you. I think what they bring to games is special – the intensity and the atmosphere is something you remember after you’ve finished playing. 

"I wish we could see out these last few games in front of fans but that isn’t going to happen. The finish to this year won't tarnish the memories I already have." 

Wigan clinched the League Leaders shield this season; they will next face Hull FC next for a place in the Grand Final. 

Wigan Warriors defeated Huddersfield Giants 19-6 at Headingley to be crowned the League Leaders' Shield winners in Super League for the first time in eight years.

The Warriors entered the clash knowing that victory would land them the trophy for a fifth time, while anything less would mean a third crown in a row for St Helens.

A try apiece for Sam Powell and Sam Wood ensured Wigan and Huddersfield went into the break all square, but the division's top side flexed their muscles in the second period.

Jackson Hastings crossed the line and fired over a drop goal, either side of Zak Hardaker dotting down, as Wigan finished top of the pile in this shortened Super League campaign.

Wigan will now face either Warrington Wolves or Hull FC in the play-off semi-final, while St Helens await for one of Catalans Dragons or Leeds Rhinos.

Salford Red Devils saw off Wakefield Trinity 28-20 in Friday's other regular-season match to end their campaign on a positive note.

Krisnan Inu, Niall Evalds and Ed Chamberlain gave Salford a commanding lead before Tui Lolohea added a fourth try, shortly after Ryan Hampshire's brief reply.

Wakefield fought back well and reduced the 22-4 deficit to two points thanks to Kelepi Tanginoa's double and another from Hampshire, but Tyrone McCarthy pounced to kill off the comeback.

Wigan Warriors moved top of Super League with an impressive and intense 18-6 win at St Helens that put them in pole position to lift the League Leaders' Shield.

Thomas Leuluai, Bevan French and Jackson Hastings all dotted down in the second half to seal a comeback victory for the visitors at the Totally Wicked Stadium on Friday.

A converted try by Lachlan Coote on the half-hour mark turned out to be the only points scored by Saints, who were unable to strike again despite a late yellow card for Wigan's Joe Greenwood.

Jake Bibby scored the other try for Wigan, who have won 12 of their 16 league games and now sit top of the standings, level on 24 points with Saints but with a better win percentage.

Warrington Wolves are third after they saw off Huddersfield Giants in a 19-12 home win.

Daryl Clark scored two tries for Warrington, who will need to check on injuries to Josh Charnley and Jason Clark after both players were forced out of the contest.

 

Josh Simm and Bevan French scored hat-tricks for St Helens and Wigan Warriors in respective hammerings of Leeds Rhinos and Salford Red Devils in Super League on Friday. 

Leeds defeated Salford to win the Challenge Cup last weekend but only four of that side were involved as the Rhinos were outclassed 40-8 by a Saints side who are closing on a third straight League Leaders' Shield.  

All of Simm's tries came in the first half with Zeb Taia also dotting down as Saints went into the break 22-0 ahead. 

Leeds showed some improvement after the restart with Cameron Smith crossing, but Theo Fages, Kevin Naiqama and Aaron Smith all scored for Saints before Liam Tindall's late try added a shred more respectability for the Rhinos.  

Wigan are second in the table and routed Salford 58-12 with Sam Powell and French going over twice and Liam Farrell scoring a try in a dominant first half in which Kallum Watkins replied for Salford. 

Jackson Hastings, Oliver Gildart and Farrell all scored for the Warriors after Tui Lolohea had cut Wigan's lead, before French completed his hat-trick and Gildart had a second in a comprehensive triumph. 

Champions St Helens stretched their winning run to nine Super League matches with a 48-6 thrashing of strugglers Wakefield Trinity on Thursday.

The chasm between the division's top and bottom sides was evident as Tommy Makinson ran in a first-half hat-trick.

There were also two tries before the break for James Roby and a single score from Alex Walmsley to open up a 30-0 advantage.

Innes Senior belatedly offered a Wakefield response after Regan Grace extended that lead early in the second period.

Tries from Lewis Dodd and Kevin Naiqama completed the scoring for Saints, though, comfortable winners in the only match of the evening as coronavirus cases in the Wigan Warriors camp led to the clash with Catalans Dragons being called off.

Liam Farrell's late try secured an 18-14 victory for Wigan Warriors over Warrington Wolves, while St Helens continued to roll in Super League on Friday.

The Wolves led by six points at the break, with a penalty try and Chris Hill's score answered by Joe Greenwood for Wigan.

Zak Hardaker converted his own try to level the scores but a Stefan Ratchford penalty had Warrington just ahead going into the final stages.

But, just when it looked as though Warrington's brave defensive effort would yield its reward, Farrell took Harry Smith's offload to go over with four minutes left and Hardaker added the extras for second-placed Wigan to keep the Wolves fifth.

Leaders St Helens were made to work hard for an eighth straight Super League win, coming from behind to defeat Wakefield Trinity 20-16 in the first of the double header at Headingley.

Alex Walker and Craig Kopczak tries had Wakefield flying but their advantaged was reduced to 12-10 by the break, as Louie McCarthy-Scarsbrook and Lachlan Coote responded.

Regan Grace crossed and Coote had a second before Matty Ashurst scored a consolation late on for struggling Wakefield.

Catalans Dragons remain in the play-off race after outclassing Hull KR 34-4.

Joel Tomkins and Tom Davies scored twice tries apiece, while Ben Garcia and Israel Folau also touched down to send the Dragons above Leeds Rhinos into third spot.

Warrington Wolves and Wigan Warriors stayed level on points at the top of Super League thanks to battling wins over Catalans Dragons and Wakefield Trinity respectively

The Wolves made it seven wins from seven since lockdown as they prevailed 30-16 over opponents who were compromised by travel disruption, while Wigan had to dig deep to prevail 28-16 against a Wakefield side who belied their lowly standing in the table

Catalans made light of a shambolic journey to the Halliwell Jones Stadium, with high winds a factor in them only arriving at Liverpool John Lennon Airport two hours ahead of kick-off.

Tries from Tom Davies and Samisoni Langi had Catalans 12-6 up a minute before half-time, when Matty Ashton touched down following a cute kick from Gareth Widdop, who was immaculate from the tee and landed five out of five conversions.

Anthony Gelling scored early in the first half for Warrington and Matt Davies did likewise after the resumption, with Blake Austin and Danny Walker dotting down either side of a well-worked try from Catalans winger Fouad Yaha.

That score had the game in the balance but Warrington were able to gain breathing space after James Maloney was sin-binned for an off-the-ball tackle on Walker.

In the later game, Wigan were reeling at 12-0 down - Jacob Miller and Tinirau Arona going over for the Wakefield, who have been beset by coronavirus struggles.

Jackson Hastings and full-back Bevan French ensured the Warriors were on terms at half-time and French's second try concluded a spurt of three in seven minutes after the hour to take the game away from Trinity.

Sam Powell crowned an all-action display before Oliver Gildart got in on the act, although Tom Johnstone's brilliant finish five minutes from time gave Wakefield some reward for their considerable efforts.

Wigan Warriors saw off Catalans Dragons 28-12 on Saturday, as Super League welcomed back fans for the first time since March.

Crowds of 5,000 or lower are now permitted at sporting events in France but partisan support was not enough to inspire Catalans against the Warriors, who have now won their past five games in Perpignan.

Oliver Gildart, Bevan French and Joe Burgess ran in tries to put the visitors 18-0 up at the break, with the Warriors quickly casting aside their defeat to Hull Kingston Rovers last time out.

Catalans, playing for the first time since August 15, were unable to get to grips with Wigan after the interval either, and Burgess and Sam Powell put the Warriors in further control.

Julian Bousquet and Fouad Yaha went over late on to restore some pride for the home side, but it was an ultimately comfortable triumph for Wigan.

Victory takes the Warriors four points clear of fourth-placed Leeds, and they are level on 16 points with leaders St Helens and second-placed Warrington Wolves.

Wigan Warriors suffered a shock 34-18 loss to Hull KR as the Super League leaders were undone by an inspired display from hat-trick hero Greg Minikin.

Bottom side KR produced an outstanding performance at Headingley to claim only their second win of the season, with Minikin the star.

Elliot Minchella and Minikin both touched down twice in the first half to eclipse Sam Powell and Harry Smith's efforts for Wigan, who were 22-12 down at the interval.

Hull remarkably extended their advantage in the second half as Dean Hadley joined the fun before Minikin completed his treble.

Jackson Hastings late burst across the line was never going to unduly worry Tony Smith's men, who still had time to add gloss with a penalty from Jordan Abdull.

There was drama aplenty in Thursday's other game, with 2019 Grand Final losers Salford Red Devils surrendering an 18-0 lead in a 37-30 defeat to Castleford Tigers.

The Tigers earned their first win since the restart with a thrilling comeback led by a 17-point showing from Danny Richardson.

A third match scheduled for Thursday did not go ahead after two Wakefield Trinity players tested positive for coronavirus, leading to their clash with Leeds Rhinos being postponed.

 

 

Wigan Warriors came from behind to beat Castleford Tigers 30-22 and go four points clear of the top of Super League, while Leeds Rhinos thrashed Salford Red Devils.

Castleford led 12-0 at the Halliwell Jones Stadium on Saturday courtesy of tries from Nathan Massey and Gareth O'Brien, both converted by Danny Richardson.

The leaders responded well to a poor start, ending the first half with a four-point advantage thanks to scores from Sam Powell, Joe Burgess and Ben Flower.

Derrell Olpherts crossed for the Tigers just after the interval, but Liam Farrell and Joe Bullock touched down for Wigan, with Zak Hardaker taking his tally with the boot to 10 points before Michael Shenton scored Castleford's fourth try of a pulsating game late on.

Leeds are four points behind Wigan after putting Salford to the sword in Warrington, where Ash Handley and Richie Myler claimed hat-tricks in a 50-12 win.

Mikolaj Oledzki, Robert Lui and Luke Gale also went over the whitewash in a nine-try rout, with Rhyse Martin booting 14 points as the rampant Rhinos moved into fourth place and sounded a warning to their rivals.

A quickfire second-half double from Niall Evalds was no consolation for sorry Salford, who are languishing just one place off the foot of the table.

Catalans Dragons' home game against Leeds Rhinos in Super League, set to take place on September 7, has been postponed. 

The announcement was made as the French club continue to quarantine after it was confirmed this week that three players and one member of staff had tested positive for coronavirus. 

Saturday's clash with Wigan had already been called off following the news, though the Warriors will still be in action against Castleford Tigers instead.

Super League has now announced that with the Dragons needing to continue isolating, Leeds will not be visiting as planned early next month.

"It is now confirmed, following consideration of all the available health information, that all Dragons squad members must isolate for 14 days - a duration which takes them beyond the scheduled fixture with Leeds Rhinos," a statement read. 

"A decision on rescheduling the Catalans Dragons versus Leeds Rhinos game will be made in due course, and the RFL [Rugby Football League] and Super League will now actively explore all available options to avoid any further disruption to the fixture calendar."

The Rhinos had initially been due to travel to Perpignan in March to play the game behind closed doors, only for one of their players to show symptoms of COVID-19, forcing a postponement. 

Jackson Hastings is one of three Super League players to be sanctioned by the Rugby Football League (RFL) for breaching COVID-19 protocols. 

Wigan Warriors half-back Hastings, Huddersfield Giants prop James Gavet and versatile Warrington Wolves teenager Riley Dean were given 14-day bans and fined for failing to abide by the rules. 

Reigning Man of Steel Hastings has already served his suspension, while Gavet will be free to train and play from Thursday and Dean's ban ends on Sunday. 

The RFL's chief regulatory officer Karen Moorhouse said: "COVID protocols were established in the weeks leading up to the resumption of the Super League season earlier this month, with an emphasis on player education and collective buy-in, and with clubs encouraged to agree and enforce their own codes of conduct.  

"In the main the protocols have been observed, and we are grateful to the majority of clubs and players and other individuals involved for their responsible and disciplined approach.  

"However, we are in a situation where breaches of the protocols by any individuals connected with the game could have serious repercussions for all – either an impact on individual and public health, or in terms of disruption to the rescheduled fixtures list.  

"It is therefore important that appropriate sanctions reflecting the reasons for the regulations are imposed. The ability to enforce a 14-day stand-down reflects this."

Wigan Warriors fought hard to see off Leeds Rhinos after St Helens had held Castleford Tigers scoreless in Super League.

Totally Wicked Stadium staged both top-flight contests on Sunday, with Saints briefly taking over at the top of the table thanks to a 10-0 triumph at their home ground. 

However, Wigan moved above their rivals to sit two points clear at the summit as they won 28-10 against Leeds, who have now lost two on the spin after going down 48-0 to St Helens last time out. 

The Rhinos did put in a much-improved display, however, and were right in the contest until the closing minutes, trailing just 16-10 after Liam Sutcliffe charged through a gap to reach the line. 

Luke Gale set up the try but was sin-binned soon after, allowing the Warriors to ease clear against 12 men. Bevan French crossed twice in the game, while Liam Farrell registered his 100th try for Wigan. 

Reigning champions Saints had earlier shut out Castleford, Theo Fages going over for the only try in the closing minutes following a break from James Roby in his 500th career appearance. 

The rest of St Helens' points came from the boot of Lachlan Coote, who kicked three goals after the break following a scoreless first half. 

Page 1 of 2
© 2020 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.