SL Moments: Jason Robinson’s Grand Final try

Jason Robinson was the hero of Old Trafford in Super League’s first Grand Final, as his solo try sparked the game into life.

This try is one of the most iconic Grand Final moments since the game was played in 1998.

The match was poorly attended, with many sceptical of the way the top tier of the sport in Britain would be determined by a play off system for the first time since 1974. But the 43,500 that were there witnessed a heart warming contest in cold, wet and significantly slippery conditions.

Wigan were victorious in the Premiership final 12 months earlier, but Bradford had already been crowned Super League champions by the traditional first past the post method that year.

The 1998 season was the first to use a five team play off format. Wigan progressed into the final after finishing top of the league and defeating Leeds in the second week of the play offs, getting the third week off in addition to the first.

Leeds progressed to the final after first beating Halifax at Headingley Stadium. This earned them the right to challenge Wigan for the chance to be the first team to reach a Super League Grand Final, but lost at Central Park. As second place team they were given a reprisal, and went onto hammer St Helens back at Headingley before facing Wigan again at Old Trafford.

Leeds scored the first try through Richie Blackmore in the 21st minute of the game. The conversion was missed, and so Leeds led 4-0 when Robinson struck two minutes before half time.

Kris Radlinski was tackled close to the touchline, before Robinson picked up the ball from the play-the-ball. Robinson ran 20 metres infield in order to centre his team for a more significant assault onto the Leeds try line. However he spotted the smallest of gaps in between two Leeds defenders, Jamie Mathiou and Darren Fleary. 

Robinson, nicknamed Billy Wizz, escaped the clutches of Daryl Powell before outpacing Iestyn Harris at fullback to score under the posts. 

The try put Wigan back in the game, and sparked a turn around in the fortunes of the game. Andy Farrell went onto convert Robinson’s try, and kick a further two goals in a tight match which Wigan went onto win 10-4. 

Robinson went onto win the Harry Sunderland trophy as man of the match.

 

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