2013 Grand Final: Wigan coach Shaun Wane proud of comeback stars
Wigan coach Shaun Wane was extremely proud of his players after they overturned a 14-point deficit to beat Warrington.
Last Updated: 06/10/13 11:09am
The Warriors made a sluggish start and three tries in six first-half minutes looked too much for them to turn around at the Theatre of Dreams.
However, 28 unanswered points capped a remarkable comeback, which was made even more special as many had written off the team's chances following a poor end to the Super League campaign.
Michael McIlorum, Josh Charnley, Blake Green and Pat Richards all touched down in the second half as the Warriors ran out deserved winners against Tony Smith's men.
"I was expecting a few apologies after how we have been doubted this year," said Wane.
"The players got hammered and told they couldn't carry on (with their form). I can't tell you how proud I am."
Tries from Joel Monaghan, Simon Grix and Ben Westwood had Wigan on the ropes, but they pulled one back crucially through Darrell Goulding before the break.
"When I got in at half-time, the players were already talking about what they had to fix," he added.
"That's the mentality they have. I told them the way we played wasn't us, that we needed to sort our defence out. I admire the players so much, the character and the tough men that they are."
Man of the Match
Wane's star man on the night was half-back Blake Green. He arrived from Hull KR last winter and has been quietly excellent throughout his debut season in Cherry and White.
His Harry Sunderland man-of-the-match performance was all the more credible considering he was knocked out by a nasty third-minute punch from Ben Westwood. He admitted that he "couldn't see much because it was so blurry".
"I knew this was a good day and I can't tell you how happy I am. I have seen these players come of age but I want them to be good players and good men, and what satisfies me is to see them having good family lives as well."
For as good as Wigan were in the second half, Warrington's performance was the opposite of their opening 40 minutes.
The caveats were the withdrawals of Joel Monaghan on a stretcher with concussion just before the break and full-back Stefan Ratchford following a challenge during which Harrison Hansen appeared to be the third man in - an act known as 'the cannonball'.
Chaos ensued in Warrington's back five as a result - they had three full-backs in as many minutes, with Chris Riley particularly ponderous as Charnley scored Wigan's third - and Wane's men cashed in.
Smith was fulsome in his praise of Wigan, and although he did have some reservations about Hansen's tackle, played down the influence of the changes on his side's showing.
"We can't be decisive about whether or not that was disruptive, you have to be able to handle those situations," he said.
"We weren't able to and in the second half, field position hurt us more than anything. Wigan are fantastic close to the line.
"Also our discipline was an issue, big time. We got smashed in field position,in penalties - it was seven two against us in the second half. You can't do that, Wigan were way too good tonight and deserved it. It's a really big effort for them to do the double."
While Smith may not have acknowledged it, Ratchford's departure clearly hindered Warrington.
"He's no good," his coach said. "He's got ligament damage in his ankle, both of them I think. I don't like it, those sort of challenges. It happens all the time.
"We tap people on the wrist, sometimes players get injured more than others. That tackle has been around a while. It's sad when a player gets injured in that way."