Super League play-offs: St Helens book record 11th Grand Final appearance after dominant win over Wigan

Zeb Taia celebrates scoring a try for St Helens in the Super League
Zeb Taia celebrates scoring a try for St Helens in the Super League

St Helens steamrollered arch-rivals Wigan 40-10 to coast through to a record 11th Super League Grand Final.

The league leaders, refreshed by a first weekend off of the year, produced arguably their best performance, running in seven tries to two in a 40-10 victory that ensures coach Justin Holbrook's last match will be at Old Trafford.

Holbrook's men now earn another week off and will watch on as Wigan seek to set up a Grand Final re-match when they take on Salford at home in next Friday's final eliminator.

St Helens came up short in both major competitions in 2018 and have already lost in this season's Challenge Cup final at Wembley but, on this form, they will take some stopping in Manchester on October 12.

Wigan, the reigning champions, went into the qualifying semi-final on the back of an eight-match winning run but they had no answer to the forceful running of forwards Luke Thompson and Morgan Knowles nor the craft of Jonny Lomax and Lachlan Coote.

It was pretty much one-way traffic at the Totally Wicked Stadium from the moment half-back Theo Fages touched down full-back Coote's clever kick off the inside of his boot in the fourth minute.

It took the visitors 10 minutes to get out of their own half and it proved their undoing as Saints centre Kevin Naiqama picked off George Williams' pass to race away for an interception try.

Coote kicked his second conversion and added a penalty after 15 minutes to open up a 14-0 lead before Wigan briefly stopped the rot, full-back Zak Hardaker combining with centre Chris Hankinson to work winger Liam Marshall over for a long-range try.

Hardaker's goal made it 14-6 but sizzling Saints struck twice more in the second quarter to pull out of sight by the break.

Thompson took skipper James Roby's pass to romp through a yawning gap for a deserved try and stand-off Lomax found another chink in the Wigan defence to go in for his side's fourth of the half.

It got even worse for Wigan when Saints substitute Louie McCarthy-Scarsbrook got up a head of steam to create the position for Coote to send second rower Zeb Taia in for his side's fifth try within six minutes of the restart.

The Warriors tightened their defence after that but Saints still managed to work an overlap for England centre Mark Percival to go in for their sixth try and he added a second six minutes from the end.

Coote took his goal tally to six from eight attempts before substitute Bevan French grabbed a late consolation try for the well-beaten visitors.

A fourth defeat of the season against St Helens was a sad way for Wigan captain Sean O'Loughlin to mark his 450th game for the club and he and coach Adrian Lam must now rally their side as they look to make the most of their second chance.

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