LONDON: Wigan beat Warrington 12-4 in the Super League Grand Final to give boss Shaun Wane and his side’s departing stars the perfect send-off at Old Trafford on Saturday.
The final whistle sparked emotional celebrations for Wigan, with Wane ending his 30-year association with his hometown club and key players Sam Tomkins, John Bateman, and Ryan Sutton also set to leave.
Wane, who worked for Wigan as a player, scout, and coach, will take up a role as high performance coach with the Scottish Rugby Union later this month.
The 54-year-old bowed out on a high as he clinched the sixth trophy of six years as Wigan boss.
In their 10th Grand Final appearance, Wigan brought the curtain down on the Wane era with a fifth Super League title.
“It’s coming to an end, it’s the perfect way to finish,” a tearful Wane said.
“I’ve got so much respect for the players. I just wanted the win against a champion team. I’ve lived the dream, it’s an outstanding feeling.”
Tomkins, who will join Catalans Dragons, was in tears before the trophy presentation.
England international Bateman is moving to the Canberra Raiders and he said: “It’s been a dream. I’ve always said that. I’m going to miss these lads.”
Warrington failed to end their 63-year wait for a Grand Final victory as they again finished as runners-up after losing the 2012, 2013, and 2016 title matches.
Having beaten Warrington to win the crown two years ago, Wigan were expected to regain the title.
Wane’s men conceded the opening try in the 14th minute when Dan Sarginson spilled a low kick close to his own line and former Wigan ace Josh Charnley slid over in the corner.
But Wigan roared back to take an 8-4 lead by halftime.
They were level in the 26th minute after Thomas Leuluai and Oliver Gildart put Dom Manfredi over and took the lead when Tom Davies finished off from George Williams’ kick.
Wigan lost Leuluai to a head injury in a heated finish to the half, which appeared to boil over in the tunnel as the players made their way back to the changing rooms.
After the interval, Manfredi had to leave the field for treatment on a nasty eye injury.
However, he somehow returned to action and made a crucial try-saving tackle to deny Tom Lineham as Warrington pushed for a leveller.
It was ultimately Manfredi who wrapped up the silverware with three minutes remaining when he finished a sweeping move to cap a superb display with his second try.