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Wigan v St Helens: Super League Grand Final – live! | Sport
5 mins. On the drop-out return set, Lomax kicks high to the corner on the last tackle but Joe Burgess climbs high to claim it and give Wigan the chance to run it out.
4 mins. James Roby takes the ball on a short offload from James Graham and the Saints hooker is dragged down just short and under the posts. On the 5th there’s a short griubber from Roby which Walmsley nearly taps down in goal but French slaps it dead.
Updated at 3.09pm EST
3 mins. Settling opening sets from each side, working it through the fowards before the kick. Everything solid so far as the sides feel each other out, before Liam Farrell is high in the tackle to give a penalty to Saints who will have a set around the Wigan 10m line.
The teams are on their way out.
“This has the makings of an absolute cracker, both teams have any number of matchwinners. I have no idea, and I’m a Wigan fan.” writes a giddy Dan M.
“Clearly want O’Loughlin to go out on a high but I would genuinely feel for James Graham if he suffers another defeat. He’s been an absolute legend and my Aussie mates (Canterbury and St George) still rave about him”
As they should, Dan.Laura Wright performs Jerusalem before the match in Hull. Photograph: Ed Sykes/SWpix.com/Rex/Shutterstock
Updated at 3.10pm EST
There’s a huge video, sound and lights show projected into the stands and onto the pitch as the KCOM Stadium, showing archive clips while music bangs out. Then, after being plunged into darkness, Laura Wright appears in the spotlight to sing Jerusalem.
In the absence of crowds, that’s probably the best effort I’ve seen at some pre-match snazz, pizazz and jizz-jazz.
Updated at 3.01pm EST
“Saints fan here. Feel ill with nerves. That is all.” says Barry Rowlings.
Ah, the familiar staccato chatter of a bloke trembling with apprehension.
Reflections on the careers of James Graham and Sean O’Loughlin are everywhere in the run up to this game. Some could say it’s a bit overdone, but they are wrong.
The Saints and Wigan forwards are two of the greatest rugby players and athletes the game in this country has produced; skilful, powerful, natural leaders, endurance like a Toyota Hilux and just a tough. We were lucky to have them.
Absolute Legends Department
“Body-wise I’ve been aching for about five years and, mentally, now feels like the right time to do it and end on a high”
Get in touch, won’t you?
It’s a Friday night and we’re all mostly locked indoors, so let’s talk about the game and anything else you fancy by email me here or tweeting @bloodandmud
French, Bibby, Hardaker, Gildart, Burgess, Leuluai, Hastings, Partington, Isa, Farrell, Singleton, Powell, Bullock
Clubb, Greenwood, O’Loughlin, Smithies St Helens
Coote; Makinson, Naiqama, Welsby, Grace; Fages, Lomax; Graham, Roby, Walmsley; Bentley, Taia; Knowles
Peyroux, McCarthy-Scarsbrook, Lees, Amor
Welcome to the Super League Grand Final from KCom Stadium.
Wigan vs Saints, Steve Hampson vs Phil Veivers, Andy Farrell vs Chris Joynt, Poole’s vs Pimbletts. It may be a new location for the Grand Final, but the old rivalries will be very much the same as the two near neighbours reignite their near-pathological dislike for each other on the biggest domestic stage.
Wigan have been in decent nick after receiving a physical and metaphorical slap-down at the hands of Leeds in the Challenge Cup semi a few weeks ago and they will look to this form to rip the title from St Helens’ grasp.
Saints themselves had a canter to final after piling the points on an admittedly shambolic performance from Catalan Dragons in last week’s semi-final. Was that too easy a path, or the perfect way to conserve their energy for when it really matters? We’ll find out in the next couple of hours or so.
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