Wigan 24-24 Warrington: Late Joe Burgess try snatches Magic Weekend draw
By PA Sport
Last Updated: 21/05/17 1:10pm
Joe Burgess pounced for a last-minute try to earn Wigan a 24-24 draw in their Grand Final rematch with Warrington in a dramatic finish to the opening day of the Dacia Magic Weekend in Newcastle.
Winger Liam Marshall's hat-trick looked to be in vain after Warrington's former Wigan second rower Jack Hughes, playing as a makeshift centre, crossed for what looked certain to be the winning try seven minutes from the end.
But Burgess brilliantly gathered a high kick from skipper Sean O'Loughlin to tie the scores and Wigan would have snatched the victory had George Williams been able to add the difficult conversion, but he was off target for the first time in the match.
The drama, which followed two largely one-sided matches, was lapped up by a first-day crowd of 35,361 at St James' Park which organisers say keeps them on track for the third-highest crowd of the Magic Weekend series.
The 21-year-old Marshall had earlier continued his prolific form in his debut season, taking his try tally to 13 in just 12 appearances, seven of them against the Wolves.
The shared spoils were enough to lift Warrington out of the bottom four for the first time this year but not enough to help Wigan climb back into the top four.
The prolific Marshall, who scored four tries against Warrington in March, struck on eight minutes, taking O'Loughlin's cut-out pass after it was deflected by his opposite number Matty Russell, and Josh Woods added the conversion.
Warrington drew level six minutes later when skipper Chris Hill had the ball stolen from him as he drove for the line and Clark was on hand to pick up and touch down for a try that was converted by Stefan Ratchford.
Marshall then swooped for his second try, intercepting Kevin Brown's dangerous pass and sprinting 90 metres unopposed, and this time Williams added the goal.
The champions had a chance to establish a stranglehold on the game, largely through the efforts of their inspirational skipper, who broke clear only to watch Joel Tomkins fail to take what would have been a try scoring pass and then worked Marshall over again at the corner only for slow-motion replays to indicate a foot in touch.
It looked to be a turning point, especially when Wigan full-back Lewis Tierney was sin-binned three minutes before half-time for holding down Ratchford following a break out of defence by Russell.
Substitutes George King and Dom Crosby were both held up over the line as the Wolves attempted to take advantage of their extra man and Russell would have scored in the corner had he been able to bring down a pass from Ratchford that went above his head.
However, Wigan not only kept their line intact while down to 12 men, they increased their lead five minutes into the second half when that man Marshall regathered his own grubber kick to complete his hat-trick.
Williams' second goal stretched his side's lead to 18-6 but it was far from game over.
Ratchford collected Brown's chip over the Wigan defence to touch down on 51 minutes and five minutes later sent out a cut-out pass that enabled winger Tom Lineham to finish powerfully at the corner.
Ratchford hit the woodwork with one conversion attempt - which would come back to haunt him - but was on target from the touchline to cut the gap to just two points and set up a tense finish.
Ratchford and Williams then traded penalties before the lead changed hands once more through Hughes but Burgess had the final say.