We finish off our look back at classic Semi Final moments with *that* 39-26 victory over Wigan in 2009.
It couldn’t be anything else, could it?
The 2009 season was shaping up to be a total write off, having got off to a disastrous start under James Lowes. We’d actually finish the season in 10th place, but the season will always be remembered for the first Challenge Cup success since 1974.
And what a way to make it to the final, too!
Even since Tony Smith’s arrival partway through the season, the league form was patchy at best, but we had shown signs of vast improvement.
To add even more spice to the affair, Smith’s first action as coach was to sell Martin Gleeson to Wigan due to his bad influence on the squad, and the former Great Britain centre faced up against his old team mates with a trip to Wembley at stake.
After Wigan took an early lead, Wire fired back and were 28-8 up by half-time.
Wigan hit back with three tires, but a trademark Briers drop goal swung the momentum back our way before a Chris Hicks try late on sealed the victory, sparking mental scenes of joy amongst everyone in primrose and blue.
Phil Bailey opened the scoring when he crashed onto a Sam Tomkins’ short ball back on the angle to wrong foot the Wire defence and touch down.
A Pat Richards penalty goal extended their lead to 8 shortly after, but it was pretty one-way traffic after that as the Wire pack began to dominate Wigan’s and the influence of Briers and Monaghan began to grow.
Matt King capitalised on good field position when he crashed over from short range to get Warrington on the board, before a cross-field kick from Briers was dropped by Roberts – under pressure from King – and Louis Anderson pounced on the loose ball to put us in the lead.
Briers then extended the lead when he dropped the shoulder and forced his way through two thirds of the Wigan front row to score by the sticks before slipping a perfect pass to find Mike Cooper in space to put the former Latchford Albion prop over.
Just before the break, Michael Monaghan darted from dummy half and, having broke the line, popped a basketball-style pass to King, who fended off Sam Tomkins to make it home, a moment captured brilliantly on camera in what must go down as one of the most iconic Wire images in recent memory.
After the break, a pinpoint Briers kick found Matt King out wide to complete his hat-trick and send the Wire fans into absolute raptures.
Tries from Tomkins, Coley and Leuluai gave Wigan hope, narrowing the gap to just six points, but Lee Briers’ goal with ten minutes to go killed of their momentum before Chris Hicks killed the game off with a long range try that sent Warrington to our first Cup final since 1990.
Warrington team that day: Mathers, Hicks, Bridge, King, Riley, Briers, Monaghan, Morley, Clarke, Carvell, L. Anderson, Harrison, Westwood.
Subs: V. Anderson, Johnson, Cooper, Rauhihi.