Result From DW Stadium - PROBIZ World Club Challenge -
Wigan Warriors 15
T Carmont 2
G Deacon 3
DG S Tomkins
St George Illawarra Dragons 21
T Morris 2, Cooper, King
G Soward 2
St George-Illawarra Dragons defeated Wigan Warriors 15-21 in the PROBIZ World Club Challenge on Sunday evening. Wigan committed themselves admirably, with the big St George team ousting a Wigan team effort not short of desire, commitment and heart.
It could not have started better however, Paul Deacon's chip over collected superbly by a leaping George Carmont and grounded- the result of enthusiastic defence knocking the ball from Beau Scott's grasp on the very first St George set. Deacon kicked well, and Wigan took the front at 6-0.
More points were added, moments later, when Nathan Fien tackled Andy Coley high. Paul Deacon continued his early form with a successful penalty from thirty-five metres out, Wigan 8-0 after four minutes.
The Australian champions are a clinical team though, as Wigan found out to their cost after ten when Matt Cooper sent Brett Morris over in the corner after a Martin Gleeson knock-on. Jamie Soward was wayward with his conversion, and the score narrowed to 8-4 Wigan.
Cooper was there again on nineteen minutes, overcoming the attentions of two Wigan defenders on the goal line to ground. Soward hit the extras to take St George ahead for the first time, 8-10.
It was nearly equal a couple of plays later, Paul Deacon narrowly sending a penalty wide after Sam Tomkins had been held down in the tackle.
George Carmont gave the vociferous 24268 in attendance a massive boost a minute afterwards though, picking a gap and steaming in from sixty metres out for a stunning effort. Deacon added the extras from right in front, Wigan 14-10.
The scoring continued soon after the resumption of play. Unfortunately for the cheering home support St George exploited the overlap on the right side of the defence once again, Brett Morris in again for a brace. Soward sliced wide with the two, all square at 14-14
After nip and tuck action both ways Wigan worked themselves into a good position near the break, and with ten seconds of the half remaining Sam Tomkins coolly kicked a drop-goal that sent Wigan in with the slenderest of leads, 15-14.
The second half arrived and it was much of the same; tense, tight and gripping with both parties coming close. Darrell Goulding came agonisingly near to catching an intercept that would have almost certainly led to a try, only for Cameron King to cruelly punish Wigan, barrelling over from close range the next set. Soward made no mistake with the goal, St George 15-20.
St George almost made Wigan pay with another four points conceded when Morris broke down the left side, only Joel Tomkin's miraculous ankle tap saving the day. Jamie Soward was well positioned meanwhile, and placed a drop goal between the sticks, St George 15-21.
There would be a variety of moments that were inches away for Wigan in the final fifteen minutes; Sean O'Loughlin almost grounding a grubber kick, Coley with a drive, Sam Tomkins blocked from chasing his own through ball. In the end, it was not to be. The whistle blew at 15-21, and St George were crowned World Challenge Cup winners.
The Warriors should be immensely proud of their competitiveness and determination in coming within inches of the title, and will take away the experience for a lifetime.
Wigan Warriors - Sam Tomkins, Darrell Goulding, Martin Gleeson, George Carmont, Amos Roberts, Paul Deacon, Thomas Leuluai, Paul Prescott, Michael McIlorum, Andy Coley, Harrison Hansen, Ryan Hoffman, Sean O'Loughlin
Replacements - Joel Tomkins, Chris Tuson, Lee Mossop, Liam Farrell
St George Illawarra Dragons - Darius Boyd, Brett Morris, Mark Gasnier, Matt Cooper, Jason Nightingale, Jamie Soward, Ben Hornby, Dan Hunt, Nathan Fien, Michael Weyman, Beau Scott, Ben Creah, Matt Prior
Replacements - Michael Greenfield, Trent Merrin, Jon Green, Cameron King
Referee - Thierry Alibert