WARRINGTON Wolves lost at Old Trafford for the third time in five years as their 61-year wait for a league championship goes on.
Rugby union-bound Josh Charnley scored the decisive try as Wigan Warriors came home 12-6 victors in front of a 70,202 crowd.
Warrington had led 6-2 at half time, and went so close to extending that lead when Ryan Atkins knocked on over the line under pressure from a clutch of Wigan defenders.
It turned in to a double whammy, as the Warriors then went up the other end to score through Oliver Gildart to turn the tide in their favour and knock the stuffing out of Tony Smith’s men.
Wigan started superbly, and led 2-0 after seven minutes when Matty Smith hit a penalty over from close range after Warrington were penalised for not being square at the play the ball.
The Warriors will have been disappointed to only have a two point advantage after 20 minutes such was their superiority, and they bombed a golden opportunity when Anthony Gelling passed forward to Charnley with the line gaping.
Warrington made them pay when youngster Declan Patton, who started in place of Chris Sandow, found his way over the line to give the Wolves the lead.
It was a lead they would hold until 56 minutes when Gildart went over on the left after the Atkins no try. It was an agonising moment for the Super League Dream Team centre, with referee Robert Hicks awarding it on the field, but it was correctly chalked off by the video referee.
The conversion to Gildart’s try was missed, locking the scores at 6-6 and the game became an arm wrestle.
Both sides were guilty of mistakes, and it was after a knock-on by Tom Lineham that Warrington were punished.
NRL-bound full-back Dan Sarginson got a smart grubber kick away to find Charnley, who did well to ground the ball before the dead ball line to put Wigan back in front at 10-6 on 64 minutes.
As time passed by, Wigan were able to stretch their lead when Sean O’Loughlin lost the ball in a tackle, Smith adding the penalty meaning the Wolves needed two scores to win.
They couldn’t find one, and became just the second team in the modern era to lose both major finals in the same season.