Wigan Warriors are the 2013 Super League champions after completing the biggest ever Grand Final comeback with a 30-16 victory that gave Sam Tomkins, Pat Richards and Lee Mossop the perfect goodbye.
Shaun Wane’s men trailed 16-2 after half an hour, but they rallied superbly in a brutal match to become only the fourth team to complete the double in the Super League era.
Second-half tries for Michael McIlorum and Josh Charnley swung Wigan back in front with 27 minutes remaining after Darrell Goulding had narrowed the gap two minutes before the break.
Then Blake Green – the Harry Sunderland winner as man of the match – put the icing on the cake with the Warriors’ fourth score, getting sweet revenge for a second-minute punch from Ben Westwood that went unseen by referee Richard Silverwood.
Richards’ score six minutes from time confirmed a famous win in front of a 66,281 crowd that had Wane punching in delight and Warriors’ fans in raptures after witnessing their side produce 28 unanswered points on the sport’s biggest stage.
Wigan’s victory means Wane joins Shaun McRae, Brian Noble and Daniel Anderson as the only men to steer their sides to Challenge Cup and Grand Final glory in the same summer season.
A three-try, eight-minute burst midway through the first half looked to have done all the damage for Warrington.
Wigan had taken an early lead from Richards’ long-range penalty, but they collapsed after consistently failing to break the Wolves’ left-side defence.
When Charnely was penalised for hauling Richie Myler into touch, few could have predicted the carnage that was to follow.
But the Warriors were savaged over the next eight minutes, not having possession again until they were 16-2 behind and staring down the barrel.
Twice previously Lee Briers had attempted to break Wigan’s line with cross-field kicks, and it was a tactic that proved third time lucky when Joel Monaghan palmed the ball out of Richards’ reach and then gathered to claim the night’s first try.
Stefan Ratchford was unable to land the touchline conversion, but Warrington’s momentum continued when Richards’ restart flew out on the full.
Briers booted the Wolves downfield and by the end of the resulting set Simon Grix had powered over on the left.
And they completed their triple whammy when Westwood, who was centre of attention early on after his flush strike on Green’s cheek, crashed under Tomkins’ attempted tackle after running an inside line on to Briers’ pass.
But Warrington were rocked when Joel Monaghan was stretchered off and Wigan managed to strike back before the break, cutting the deficit to just 10 points when Green, Matty Smith and Tomkins combined to put Goulding over.
And that gave them just enough hope to storm to a stunning victory that left Warrington heartbroken.