Wigan Warriors made it a fairytale ending for Shaun Wane, Sam Tomkins and John Bateman as they managed to clinched a breathtaking final against Warrington Wolves thanks to a Dom Manfredi brace.
The tone of Grand Final was set in the first tackle as Mike Cooper flattened Joe Greenwood with the first hit up of the game.
Warrington Wolves were the first side to take control of the game as Ben Westwood forced a knock-on from John Bateman but Wigan hit back and forced the Wolves to make an error of their own through Bryson Goodwin in the next set.
Wigan nearly broke through the Warrington line but a slight knock-on from Sam Tomkins let the Wolves off.
The Warriors were taking control of the game as the 10 minute mark ticked by. A poor kick from Stefan Ratchford allowed Wigan to attack on the front foot.
Sam Tomkins tapped back his own fifth-tackle kick but Romain Navarrete was closed down by Ratchford in what was a try-saving tackle.
Wigan conceded the first penalty of the game though in just the next set to ease the pressure on Warrington.
The Wolves then attacked the Wigan line with vigour and managed to earn a repeat set after a Dan Sarginson knock-on.
This set provided the first points of the afternoon as Josh Charnley scored against his former club as he finished off as free-flowing move by Warrington to slide over in the right hand corner.
Tyrone Roberts missed his first conversion attempt of the night as Warrington took an early 0-4 lead.
Sam Tomkins was penalised for a trip on Bryson Goodwin but Robert Hicks deemed that the full-back tried to make a genuine attempt to tackle the Warrington centre so was not shown a yellow or red card.
The next 15 minutes were very level between the two sides but it was Warrington who were winning the territorial and physical battle.
Wigan did hit back though, as a late tackle on Thomas Lealaui allowed Wigan to attack from just 10 metres out and Oliver Gildart skipped through the Warrington defence and released Dom Manfredi slid into the right hand corner to score.
Tomkins missed his conversion attempt and the scores were level at 4-4.
Wigan took the lead just minutes later though as Tom Davies won the race to the ball after a George Williams kick through. Tomkins missed once again for a four point lead.
However, Warrington to forced a knock on by the Warriors just metres from their own line but the Wolves couldn’t force their way over as Ben Murdoch-Masila was caught on the fifth tackle.
As the first-half drew to a close, Morgan Escare took exception to a tackle on Oliver Gildart and both sides got into a little bit of a scuffle with Sam Tomkins in the middle of it.
Tomkins was again at the centre of attention he made contact with a prone Daryl Clark with his knee. Once again, Tomkins was lucky to stay on the pitch as Hicks once again deemed their to be no intentional foul play.
Warrington did get one more chance to attack but they once again turned the ball over on the fifth tackle and Robert Hicks blew the half-time whistle
Half-Time: Wigan Warriors 8-4 Warrington Wolves
There were unsavoury scenes in the tunnel as the players left the field at half-time as Romain Navarrete appeared to take exception to a push from Bryson Goodwin on his French team-mate Morgan Escare and the two teams squared up to each other once more.
The second half kicked-off in the same way as the first did with huge hits.
Warrington were the stronger of the two sides inside the first ten minutes of the second half as they threatened the left hand edge but a huge try-saving tackle from Dom Manfredi stopped Tom Lineham in his tracks.
However, the Wigan winger came off worse and was forced off the field.
Josh Charnley was the next player to be penalised as his knee connected with Morgan Escare’s head however, Hicks was consisted with his previous decisions and the winger was not yellow-carded.
Wigan took advantage of the penalty and forced a goal-line drop out from Warrington. However, that repeat set came to nothing.
Stefan Ratchford was once again very close to scoring for Warrington as he broke the line. The Wolves were sloppy in attack though and a loose pass was gathered by Oliver Gildart and the Cherry and Whites escaped.
The Warrington full-back escaped the clutches of Wigan once more and set the Wolves on the front foot but a loose carry from Murdoch-Masila once again allowed Wigan to come away unscathed.
The Warriors charged up field once more and forced Josh Charnley into touch after a perfect kick from George Williams. However, Gildart couldn’t quite gather the ball and just stepped onto the touchline.
Both sides were still looking to take control of the scoreboard and Warringtons defences was improving. A George Williams knock-on was forced and the Wolves were aiming to take the lead with over an hour of the game played.
Wigan managed to stop Warrington though and Escare broke 60 metres up field as the Warriors looked to punish the Wolves. However, Escare’s drop-goal attempt was diabolical.
The back and forth nature of the game continued though and Warrington nearly scored themselves but a outrageous offload from Murdoch-Masila drifted forward as Roberts was nearly through.
With 10 minutes of game remaining, John Bateman lost the ball as a result of a ball steal from Bodene Thompson. The Warriors decided to go for goal but Sam Tomkins kick drifted long and wide.
With 5 minutes remaining, Warrington’s sloppyness let them down once more as the recently introduced Dec Patton dropped the ball.
The game was won with three minutes remaining as Dom Manfredi scored his second try of the night was once again on the end of a free-flowing Wigan move and slammed the ball own in the right hand corner.
Tomkins was once again inaccurate from the tee but with an 8 point lead and less than two minutes remaining, the game seemed to be Wigan’s.
Warrington did manage to cross the line in the final minute, but Robert Hicks and the TMO made the right choice as Toby King knocked the ball on over the line with just 15 seconds remaining.
Wigan let the time run out and The Warriors made it yet another Grand Final victory at Old Trafford for Shaun Wane in what was another classic final against a sloppy Warrington Wolves.
Full-Time: Wigan Warriors 12-4 Warrington Wolves
Harry Sunderland Trophy Winner: Stefan Ratchford – The Warrington full-back was undeserving to be on the losing side. His multiple line breaks and try-saving tackles were what kept the game so tight right up until the final three minutes.
My Man of the Match: Dominic Manfredi – The Wigan winger did his job tonight. His two tries were the difference between the two sides and to come back from the injury troubles to score a brace at Old Trafford is outstanding.
Tomkins, Davies, Sarginson, Gildart, Manfredi, Williams, Leuluai, Navarrete, Powell, Flower, Greenwood, Bateman, O’Loughlin.
Interchanges: Clubb, Escare, Sutton, Farrell.
Tries Manfredi (2), Davies
Goals: Tomkins (0/4)
Ratchford; Lineham, Goodwin, T. King, Charnley; Brown, Roberts; Hill, Clark, Cooper, Thompson, Hughes, Westwood.
Interchanges: Philbin, Murdoch-Masila, G.King, Patton
Goals: Roberts (0/1)