Old rivals St Helens and Wigan Warriors meet in the Betfred Super League Grand Final on Friday night in what could be another classic encounter (Wigan Warriors 5/6, St Helens 6/5, tie 22/1 – Betfred Super League Grand Final Match Betting).
Saints moved ahead of Wigan last year with their Grand Final win over Salford to claim their sixth title, with Wigan on five.
This will be the fourth time these two heavyweights have met in the season-ending showpiece, with Saints currently leading their rivals 2-1 in their head-to-head Grand Final record.
Here we look back on some great games down the years between the two old rivals.
Saints 14-6 Wigan, 2014
The most recent Grand Final meeting between the two sides came in 2014 in what was also one of their most explosive match-ups. With just two minutes on the clock, Wigan prop Ben Flower punched Lance Hohaia to the ground and continued the attack as he lay on the floor.
The referee on the day, Phil Bentham, had no other option but to send Flower off, as he became the first and only player to be dismissed in a Grand Final, leaving Wigan to play out the rest of the match with 12 men.
Amazingly, Wigan managed to take a 6-2 lead into the break thanks to Joe Burgess’ try, but St Helens eventually made their numerical advantage count and ran out 14-6 winners with Iosia Soliola and Tommy Makinson crossing the line.
Makinson didn’t manage to grab a try in last year’s final but did get on the scoresheet with a drop goal and he is 11/8 to score a try at anytime on Friday.
Wigan 22-10 Saints, 2010
The Warriors finished at the top of the pile at the end of the regular season in 2010 under Michael Maguire with 44 points, with Saints coming in second spot four points further off as the league’s top two met in the Grand Final at Old Trafford.
This could, and perhaps should, have been a closely-contested battle but instead Wigan started with real purpose and had one hand firmly on the trophy with barely a quarter of the match gone.
Martin Gleeson gave the Warriors a 4-0 lead with just four minutes on the clock and then grabbed his second try soon after in a move orchestrated by club legend and current Catalans man Sam Tomkins.
Darrell Goulding then gave the Warriors a 16-0 advantage, leaving Saints with a mountain to climb, but Andrew Dixon did manage to reduce the deficit before the break, with Wigan taking a 16-6 lead into half-time.
With less than 10 minutes of the second half gone, Wigan extended their lead thanks to a fine individual effort from Tomkins, who dummied and took on the defensive line and was somehow able to reach out of a two-man tackle to plant the ball over the line. Francis Meli did manage a consolation for Saints but by then it was too late for a comeback.
St Helens 29-19 Wigan, 2000
The first Grand Final meeting between Saints and Wigan came in 2000, the third official Grand Final in the fifth season of the Super League era as the title was decided by league position in the first two seasons.
Wigan had finished top of the pile at the end of the regular season but they were unable to take the title as Saints proved too strong at Old Trafford.
Andy Farrell, Dave Hodgson and Tony Smith grabbed Wigan’s tries, but Saints ran in five with Chris Joynt managing a brace and Freddie Tuilagi, Sean Hoppe and Tim Jonkers also crossing the line. Sean Long was in fine form with the boot for Saints and Paul Sculthorpe also scored a drop goal, as he then did in their World Club Challenge win over 2000 NRL Champions Brisbane Broncos.