2020 Super League Grand Final

Last updated
2020 (2020) Super League Grand Final  ()
12Total
WIG Wigancolours.svg 044
STH Saintscolours.svg 268
Date27 November 2020
Stadium KCOM Stadium
Location Hull
Harry Sunderland Trophy James Roby (St Helens)
Jerusalem Laura Wright
Referees Chris Kendall
Attendance0 [lower-alpha 1]
Broadcast partners
Broadcasters
  2019
2021  

The 2020 Super League Grand Final was the 23rd official Grand Final and championship-deciding game of Super League XXV. The game was won 8–4 by St Helens over their local rivals Wigan Warriors. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, it was the first Super League Grand Final not held at Old Trafford.

Contents

Stadium selection

Initially, Old Trafford was confirmed as the venue for the 2020 Super League Grand Final, with the Premier League scheduling Manchester United's tie against Southampton, on the same day, to be played away at St Mary's Stadium in order to allow Old Trafford to accommodate the Grand Final. However with an increasing number of positive COVID-19 tests in rugby league players and match postponements approaching the game, Manchester United and the Super League withdrew from the agreement on 17 October as Old Trafford would be unable to accommodate a change in date with them hosting İstanbul Başakşehir and Paris Saint Germain midweek either side of the Grand Final weekend in the Champions League. [1] On 22 October it was announced that the game would be played at the KCOM Stadium, Hull on Friday 27 November with an 8pm kick-off. [2] Criticism was met with the selection of KCOM as the venue, with some people saying it was a poor attempt to expand rugby league's reach, whereas other were saying it was the most iconic Super League stadium and that stadium selection did not matter as fans were not allowed to attend. [3]

Background

The two finalists finished first and second in the regular season with Wigan winning 13 of their 17 games and St Helens 12 out of 17. These league positions earned both clubs byes to the second (semi-final) round of the play-offs and home advantage in their semi-final matches.

PosTeamPldWDLPFPAPPWPCT
1 Wigancolours.svg Wigan Warriors171304408278146.876.47
2 Saintscolours.svg St Helens171205469195240.570.59

Route to the final

Wigan finished first in the regular season, to claim their first League Leaders Shield since 2012, and a first trophy for head coach, Adrian Lam. In their semi-final they played Hull F.C. the lowest ranked winning team from the elimination finals. Wigan won the match 29–2, with tries from Joe Burgess, Harry Smith, Zak Hardaker, Jake Bibby and Bevan French to reach the grand final, for an 11th time.

After the semi-final game, Wigan captain Sean O'Loughlin (who has been with Wigan since 2002), was given a guard of honour from both sets of teams, as he made his way back to the dressing room, as this was his final match at the DW Stadium as a Wigan player due to him retiring after the grand final.

Reigning and defending champions St Helens finished second in the regular season against Catalans Dragons the higher ranked winning team from the elimination finals. St Helens won the match 48–2, to reach the grand final, for a record 12th time.

Match details

27 November 2020
Wigancolours.svg Wigan Warriors4–8 Saintscolours.svg St Helens RFC
Try: Bibby 66’
Goal: Hardaker (0/2)
Report Try: Welsby 80'
Goal: Coote (2/2) 40'(pen), 73'(pen)
KCOM Stadium, Hull
Attendance: 0 [lower-alpha 1]
Referee: Chris Kendall (Huddersfield)
Wigan Warriors Position St Helens
6 Flag of Australia (converted).svg Bevan French Fullback 1 Flag of Scotland.svg Lachlan Coote
23 Flag of England.svg Jake Bibby Wing 2 Flag of England.svg Tommy Makinson
1 Flag of England.svg Zak Hardaker Centre 3 Flag of Fiji.svg Kevin Naiqama
4 Flag of England.svg Oliver Gildart Centre 22 Flag of England.svg Jack Welsby
5 Flag of England.svg Joe Burgess Sub off.svg 24' Sub on.svg 38' Wing 5 Flag of Wales (1959-present).svg Regan Grace
7 Flag of New Zealand.svg Thomas Leuluai Scrum-half 6 Flag of England.svg Jonny Lomax
31 Flag of the United Kingdom.svg Jackson Hastings Stand-off 7 Flag of France.svg Theo Fages
19 Flag of England.svg Joe Bullock Sub off.svg 15' Sub on.svg 51' Sub off.svg 60' Prop 8 Flag of England.svg Alex Walmsley Sub off.svg 29' Sub on.svg 61'
9 Flag of England.svg Sam Powell Hooker 9 Flag of England.svg James Roby
38 Four Provinces Flag.svg Brad Singleton Sub off.svg 25' Sub on.svg 54' Prop 32 Flag of England.svg James Graham Sub off.svg 20'
11 Flag of Samoa.svg Willie Isa Second-row 11 Flag of the Cook Islands.svg Zeb Taia
12 Flag of England.svg Liam Farrell Second-row 20 Four Provinces Flag.svg James Bentley
17 Flag of England.svg Oliver Partington Sub off.svg 38' Sub on.svg 60' Loose forward 14 Flag of Wales (1959-present).svg Morgan Knowles Sub off.svg 35'
8 Flag of England.svg Tony Clubb Sub on.svg 15' Sub off.svg 29'Interchange12 Flag of the Cook Islands.svg Dominique Peyroux Sub off.svg 58'
15 Flag of England.svg Joe Greenwood Sub on.svg 24' Sub off.svg 51'13 Four Provinces Flag.svg Louie McCarthy-Scarsbrook Sub on.svg 29' Sub off.svg 61'
13 Flag of England.svg Sean O'Loughlin Sub on.svg 29' Sub off.svg 54' Sub on.svg 77'15 Flag of England.svg Matty Lees Sub on.svg 20' Sub on.svg 58'
16 Flag of England.svg Morgan Smithies Sub on.svg 25' Sub off.svg 77'16 Four Provinces Flag.svg Kyle Amor Sub on.svg 35'
Flag of Papua New Guinea.svg Adrian Lam Coach Flag of Australia (converted).svg Kristian Woolf

Both teams normal kit colours are red and white, but with Wigan having finished higher in the league, they were the 'home team' which meant that they were playing in their normal red and white colours, with St Helens playing in their alternate blue and white kit. [4]

The game was the lowest scoring grand final in the history of Super League, but has been described as one of the greatest and most dramatic grand finals. [5] [6] [7]

In a game dominated by defences, there was no scoring until the last minute of the first half, when St Helens were awarded a penalty for a shoulder charge by Morgan Smithies on Lachlan Coote. Coote took the kick himself to give St Helens a 2–0 half-time lead. [6] The closest effort to a try had seen Wigan's Zak Hardaker prevented from scoring by five St Helens defenders, when he was held-up [lower-alpha 2] over the St Helens goal line after 28 minutes [7]

The second half continued in the same fashion, with scoring opportunities limited. St Helens thought they had scored on 55 minutes, when Zeb Taia grounded a kick from James Roby, but referee Chris Kendall disallowed the try for offside, a decision confirmed by video referee Ben Thaler. [8]

Wigan's Jake Bibby finally scored the first try of the game, after 66 minutes when he touched down in the corner. Hardaker's conversion attempt bounced off the crossbar to give Wigan a 4–2 lead. With less than 10 minutes left, St Helens were awarded another penalty as Jackson Hastings was adjudged to have high tackled Theo Fages. Coote made his second successful kick to level the scores up at 4–4. [7] In the 78th minute, Wigan were awarded a penalty when Theo Fages was ruled offside. From just inside the Saints half of the field, Hardaker's kick drifted right of the goalposts, leaving the scores tied. As the game went into its final seconds, Saints winger Tommy Makinson attempted a drop goal, and as the hooter sounded the end of the game, the ball bounced back off the goal post, and bounced into the Wigan in-goal area, where St Helens centre Jack Welsby out-sprinted Wigan fullback Bevan French to score the match winning try. [9]

Notes

  1. 1 2 Behind closed doors due to the COVID-19 pandemic in the United Kingdom
  2. The laws of rugby league require the ball to be touched down in the in-goal area with downward pressure exerted by the player for a try to be awarded. If a player is prevented from getting the ball down, they are said to be "held up"

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References

  1. "Super League Grand Final: Old Trafford will not host game for the first time". BBC Sport. 20 October 2020.
  2. Darbyshire, Drew (22 October 2020). "Super League Grand Final to take place at Hull's KCOM Stadium". Love Rugby League. Retrieved 22 October 2020.
  3. Jackson, William (23 October 2020). "Super League fans react as KCOM Stadium to host Grand Final". HullLive. Retrieved 28 November 2020.
  4. Critchley, Mike (24 November 2020). "Saints will be in blue for 2020 Grand Final against Wigan". St Helens Star. Retrieved 28 November 2020.
  5. "St Helens snatch Super League grand final win in stunning finish". abc.net.au. 28 November 2020. Retrieved 28 November 2020.
  6. 1 2 Bower, Aaron (27 November 2020). "Welsby's dramatic late try sinks Wigan and snatches Grand Final for St Helens". the Guardian. Retrieved 28 November 2020.
  7. 1 2 3 "Saints win dramatic Super League Grand Final". BBC Sport. 27 November 2020. Retrieved 28 November 2020.
  8. "Super League Grand Final: Jack Welsby clinches 8-4 win for St Helens over Wigan Warriors". Sky Sports. 28 November 2020. Retrieved 28 November 2020.
  9. "Jack Welsby seals dramatic Super League Grand Final win as St Helens beat Wigan Warriors". The Independent. 27 November 2020. Retrieved 28 November 2020.