Match preview as Wigan Warriors Under-19s face St Helens in the Academy Super League Grand Final this Friday at the DW Stadium (K.O. 5:30pm).
Derby clash set as curtain-raiser ahead of the first team Play-Off Qualifier Game against Salford Red Devils (7:45pm K.O.).
- Fans who buy tickets for the first team tie can watch the game at the DW Stadium. It will also be live on Wigan TV.
Wigan Warriors Under-19s Head Coach Shane Eccles hopes his players can rise to the occasion and turn all the hard work from the 2019 season into success as they take on St Helens in the Academy Super League Grand Final at the DW Stadium on Friday night.
Shane Eccles’ side scored nine tries to beat Warrington Wolves 50-22 in last Saturday’s semi-final, as winger Cian Tyrer grabbed a hat-trick, while skipper Harry Smith collected 18 points with a try and seven goals.
Wigan’s 16th win on the bounce set up the Grand Final clash against local rivals St Helens, who overcame Leeds Rhinos 34-10 at the Totally Wicked Stadium last Thursday to reach their fourth Grand Final in six seasons.
The final will be a curtain-raiser to the first team fixture with Wigan set to host Salford Red Devils in the Betfred Super League Play-Off Qualifier at 7:45pm.
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Ahead of the Under-19s final, Eccles said: “We have had a great week; training has been very good and it’s clear to see all the team are excited and looking forward to such a big occasion.
“We’ve talked a few times this week about how the players have worked hard for almost 12 months to get to this point and now they need to enjoy the occasion by giving it their best.”
In what will be their fifth-straight Grand Final appearance, the Warriors are aiming to win a third consecutive Academy title and their 10th in the last 12 seasons.
Between 2008 and 2018, Wigan’s Academy side have featured in 10 Grand Finals, winning nine and losing one. Five of the 10 were against St Helens as Wigan won four, including three in a row between 2008 and 2010, while Saints gained revenge in 2016.
Eccles commented: “It would be a great achievement to make it three wins on the bounce, however, the focus for the players has been about themselves and looking at their own improvements individually and as a team to get to this point and be able to play in a Grand Final.”
After finishing top of the Academy table with 22 wins from 23 games, Wigan earned to play the Grand Final at home.
The Cherry and Whites finished the regular season on 44 points - four ahead of second placed St Helens.
Overall in the Academy Super League this season, the Warriors have the best attack (1012 PF) and best defence (308 PA) with a total points difference of 704.
“It would be great for the players if there was a big crowd to support them in such a big game,” Eccles said.
“Hopefully fans going to the first team game will be able to get down early and watch the game and support the team.
Warriors Head of Youth, Mick Cassidy, added: “I know that Wigan fans will be keen to show their support and I’d urge anyone who can get down to the stadium a little earlier than usual to do so.
“This Under-19s side have performed superbly well all season, and we’re looking forward to facing local rivals Saints in front of the Cherry and White faithful on Friday.”
Derby rivals St Helens finished in second place in the Academy Super League this year, having won 20 of their 23 games.
After their semi-final victory over Leeds, the Saints are currently on a 10-game winning streak and, coincidently, the last time they lost was against Wigan back in June, as the Warriors won 36-28 at the Totally Wicked Stadium.
The other meeting between the two teams came in May as Wigan ran out 36-20 winners at Robin Park Arena.
Boss Eccles concluded: “We know Saints are a very strong team and it should make for a great game. We have had two tough and close encounters with them this season and we know they are playing well as a team and have some excellent individuals.”
A blockbuster double header of rugby league action takes place at the DW Stadium on Friday 20th September and tickets are on sale and start from £23 for Adults, £16 for Concessions with Juniors from £10.
Season Ticket Holders and Members can get £5 off the ticket price by purchasing their ticket before 5pm Tuesday 17th September. For more information click HERE.
Friday’s game will also be streamed live on Wigan TV from 5:30pm.
There will also be highlights and post-match interviews available, giving Wigan fans comprehensive coverage that you’ll not find anywhere else.
To sign up today, simply follow THIS LINK.
NOTE TO FANS, there will be NO Fan Village at Robin Park Arena this Friday ahead of the game. There will also be NO Max’s Club in the North Stand prior to kick-off. For fans who like to get down to the DW Stadium early, there is, of course, the Under-19s Grand Final to enjoy.