Super League: Wigan Warriors 16-12 Warrington Wolves

By Phil CartwrightBBC Sport
Joe Burgess scores
A late try from teenager Joe Burgess sent Wigan to a third Grand Final in five seasons
First Utility Super League semi-final
Wigan Warriors (8) 16
Tries: Tomkins, Gelling, Burgess Goals: Smith 2
Warrington Wolves (4) 12
Tries: J Monaghan, O'Brien Goals: O'Brien, Ratchford

Wigan will face St Helens in Super League's Grand Final on 11 October after overcoming Warrington in a gripping play-off semi-final.

The scores were level at 12-12 with two minutes left to play when teenage Warriors winger Joe Burgess crossed for the decisive try at The DW Stadium.

Joel Tomkins and Joel Monaghan swapped scores in the first period.

Gareth O'Brien put Warrington ahead for the first time before Anthony Gelling and Burgess sent Wigan to Old Trafford.

Wigan will be hoping to successfully defend their Super League title against a St Helens side who will be playing their final game under head coach Nathan Brown, who is to return to his native Australia at the end of the season.

Many believed this game, a repeat of the 2013 Grand Final, would have made a fitting showpiece to the 2014 campaign and it did not disappoint, as the Warriors made it to a third Grand Final in five seasons.

And it was fitting that 19-year-old Burgess, who has emerged as one of the finest young talents in the domestic game this season, should cap another excellent personal display with the match-winning score.

Joel Tomkins
Joel Tomkins scored the game's first try, his second since returning to rugby league in June

While Warrington were beating Castleford last week to make it into the last four, the Warriors were enjoying some extra time to prepare for their semi-final and their refreshed side made the quicker start, Matty Smith giving them the lead with a 40-metre penalty.

The hosts were dominant in the first 20 minutes and Warrington defended resolutely to somehow prevent Wigan's early barrage of pressure causing any further damage to the scoreline.

Their resistance was eventually broken by a superb run by half-back Blake Green, the man of the match in last season's Grand Final between the two teams, who sidestepped his way through the visitors' backline and set up second-rower Tomkins to score his second try since returning to Wigan from rugby union side Saracens in June.

Warrington's defensive efforts would be rewarded with a try at the other end shortly before the interval, with an opportunist effort from their top scorer Monaghan cutting the deficit to four points at the end of a pulsating first half.

Richie Myler's attempted pass out wide went forward, accidentally, off the head of team-mate Ben Currie and into the in-goal area, where the Australian winger touched down for his 34th try of another prolific season.

Super League play-off results:
Qualifying play-off, 18 Sep: Wigan 57-4 Huddersfield
Qualifying play-off, 19 Sep: St Helens 41-0 Castleford
Elimination play-off, 20 Sep: Warrington 22-19 Widnes
Elimination play-off, 20 Sep: Leeds 20-24 Catalan Dragons
Preliminary semi-final, 25 Sep: Castleford 14-30 Warrington
Preliminary semi-final, 26 Sep: Huddersfield 16-18 Catalan Dragons
Qualifying semi-final, 2 October: St Helens 30-12 Catalan Dragons
Qualifying semi-final, 3 October: Wigan 16-12 Warrington
Grand Final, 11 October: St Helens v Wigan

Warrington led after the break through O'Brien, whose high kick was left alone by Wigan full-back Matty Bowen, allowing the stand-off to score easily in front of the travelling Wolves supporters.

The home side responded quickly and went two points clear when centre Gelling finished off a length-of-the-field move from 20 metres, but Stefan Ratchford kicked Warrington level after Liam Farrell was penalised.

Smith, O'Brien and Myler all failed with long-range drop-goal attempts as both sides looked for a match-winning one-pointer in the final stages.

Dan Sarginson thought he had sealed victory for the home side with three minutes to go, only for his effort to be ruled out for a forward pass.

However, with extra-time looming, Burgess powered his way over to secure Wigan's return to Old Trafford.

Sean O'Loughlin and Paul Wellens
Wigan and St Helens last met in a Grand Final back in 2010 - four years on, Warriors captain Sean O'Loughlin (l) and Saints skipper Paul Wellens will again lead their sides at Old Trafford

Wigan coach Shaun Wane: "I didn't really want us to go for a drop goal.

"I thought if we played with some commitment to our attack and play with a tempo we could score a try and they did that.

"I got a message on and the players, like they've done all year, executed it perfectly."

Warrington coach Tony Smith: "If the standard of next week's game is as good, it will be a great advert for our sport.

"I thought Wigan were dominant in the first half and we had to scramble but to only concede one try to a team in that kind of mode was really courageous.

"In the second half we had our say in a big way and at times it looked like we were going to win but unfortunately it's not to be.

"I'm really proud of the effort of my boys, not only tonight but all season."

Wigan Warriors: Bowen; Charnley, Gelling, Sarginson, Burgess; Green, Smith; Flower, McIlorum, Crosby, Tomkins, Farrell, O'Loughlin.

Replacements: Powell, Pettybourne, Clubb, Bateman.

Warrington Wolves: Ratchford; J Monaghan, Bridge, Atkins, Evans; O'Brien, Myler; Hill, M Monaghan, England, Laithwaite, Waterhouse, Harrison.

Replacements: Higham, Asotasi, Currie, Russell.

Referee: Phil Bentham

Attendance: 15,023