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Thursday 20th March 2014, 20:00 - Round:6
|Gene Ormsby,||T||Liam Farrell, Blake Green,|
Matty Smith 2,
Attendance: 11,550 Official: P Bentham Venue: Halliwell Jones Stadium
First Utility Super League champions Wigan Warriors rediscovered their defensive steel to condemn error-ridden Warrington Wolves to a second home defeat in three matches in tonight's Grand Final re-match.
England second-rower Liam Farrell scored one try and sent acting captain Blake Green over for another as the Warriors claimed a thoroughly deserved 12-4 victory that lifts them above Warrington into sixth place.
The Wolves were hoping to avenge October's 30-16 defeat at Old Trafford but they were never in the hunt in wet and windy conditions at the Halliwell Jones Stadium, where their only try was an interception effort by Gene Ormsby.
The much-anticipated clash of the reigning champions and the pre-season title favourites failed to deliver on quality but there was no doubting the commitment of either side in a full-blooded encounter.
Warrington captain Ben Westwood, roundly booed by Wigan fans with vivid memories of the England forward's swinging arm at Old Trafford that broke the jaw of Green, had predicted a tasty affair and it was certainly not for the faint-hearted.
Tempers simmered throughout a first half that produced just one try but plenty of crunching defence, particularly from the Warriors.
The champions were the more fluent and inventive side from the start and were quick to bring promising winger Joe Burgess into play at every opportunity.
The lanky teenager failed to get on the scoresheet for the first time this season but still managed to catch the eye with a series of weaving runs.
It was from his second burst that Wigan opened the scoring after 10 minutes as he took Matty Bowen's pass to race clear before sending Farrell over for the game's first try.
Matty Smith's conversion made it 6-0 and Warrington were grateful the score stayed that way for the next 26 minutes as they struggled to make much impression on the visitors' defence.
The Warriors had two tries disallowed in the space of a minute, with video referee Steve Ganson ruling second-rower John Bateman had failed to ground the ball over the line and match referee Phil Bentham bringing back centre Iain Thornley for a forward pass.
They eventually increased their lead with a penalty from Smith four minutes before the break but an 8-0 lead was scant reward for their domination.
The second half began in calamitous fashion, with Smith kicking out on the full and Warrington's Gareth O'Brien failing to find touch with the resultant penalty.
The Wolves continued to come up with a host of handling errors and they were punished after 50 minutes when a short pass from Wigan substitute Eddy Pettybourne got Farrell charging into space and Green was on hand to score his side's second try.
Smith's conversion attempt came back off an upright and Wigan's lead was cut to eight points on the hour when Ormsby picked off Bowen's pass, meant for winger Josh Charnley, to sprint 60 metres for an opportunist try.
Stefan Ratchford failed with his goal kick but the score sparked the home side into producing their best rugby of the match, with the introduction of former Wigan full-back Matty Russell enabling Ratchford to link effectively at half-back with Richie Myler.
The Warriors defence continued to hold firm, however, and Smith had the chance to increase the size of their victory but he pulled a late penalty wide.
TA: Try assists
MT: Marker tackles
MI: Missed tackles
TB: Tackle busts
AT: Attacking kicks
AG: Av gain
CB: Clean break
DR: Run from dummy half
FT: Forty twenty
MG: Missed goals