Wigan Warriors 4-28 Salford Red Devils: Ian Watson's side stun hosts to reach first Grand Final

Salford celebrate Joey Lussick's try in the final eliminator with Wigan
Salford celebrate Joey Lussick's try in the final eliminator with Wigan

Salford achieved the unthinkable by reaching a maiden Grand Final after upsetting reigning Super League champions Wigan in the final eliminator.

Former Wigan props Lee Mossop and Gil Dudson were among the tryscorers and winger Krisnan Inu kicked eight goals from as many attempts in a 28-4 victory at the DW Stadium that was every bit as emphatic as the scoreline suggests.

Wigan, who had high hopes of retaining the Super League title for the first time, picked up from where they left off in their 40-10 rout by St Helens as they were out-fought by hungrier, slicker and more purposeful opponents.

The result means the Red Devils, who were a 150-1 shot to win the Grand Final at the start of the season, will run out for the first time at Old Trafford next Saturday.

Ian Watson's men have become only the eighth team to play in the Grand Final since its inception in 1998 and will now be hoping to break the monopoly of the big four when they take on St Helens.

It was a desperately disappointing way for England stand-off George Williams to end his Wigan career but Jackson Hastings and Jake Bibby will get to play their final Salford games at Old Trafford before joining the Warriors next season.

Salford went into the game having lost their last eight meetings with Wigan, including all four in 2019, but Watson was convinced they were getting closer each time to breaking the duck and so it proved.

Many questioned whether Super League's surprise packet could sustain their challenge right to the end but not the 4,000 fans - well above Salford's average home crowd this year - who packed out the North Stand with the confidence that their team could overturn an 18-12 defeat on this ground just a fortnight earlier.

Salford led 4-0 after seven minutes thanks to two penalties from Inu for infringements on Mossop and his front-row colleague Dudson, who had managed just one try in 26 appearances in the regular Super League season, took Tyrone McCarthy's pass to touch down on 13 minutes to make it 10-0.

Wigan twice kicked out on the full to gift possession to their opponents and lost scrum-half Thomas Leuluai to injury after 15 minutes as they failed to find any cohesion.

Wigan were all bluff and bluster, while Salford were direct and incisive and almost scored a second try three minutes before the interval when Bibby reached the line only to be held up.

The Red Devils did extend their lead, however, with Inu kicking a third penalty after Wigan were pulled up for an obstruction on the stroke of half-time to make it 12-0.

And there was no way back for Wigan when replacement hooker Joey Lussick squeezed over for a second try from dummy half four minutes into the second half.

Inu's fifth goal made it 18-0 and he kicked another penalty for a high tackle on 56 minutes as the visitors strengthened their grip on the game.

Salford fans could start booking their tickets for Old Trafford when Mossop took Dudson's short pass to score a third try but their hopes of being able to nil their opponents for a second successive week were dashed when French grabbed a consolation try for Wigan nine minutes from the end.

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