St. Helens 32 Wigan Warriors 16 (VIEW MATCH)
2004 Challenge Cup final
All roads led to Cardiff
This was a key game for St. Helens and their supporters, eager to beat Wigan in a Challenge Cup final for the first time since 1966. They got to Cardiff the hard way too, pitted against Super League opposition in every round leading up to the final. The team had made success in this competition the focus of the season and were in a determined mood not to let the chance of glory slip away.
Edmo Gardner and Wilkin
It was the Saints who scored first, in front of over 73,000, when Australian stand-off Jason Hooper disrupted a last-tackle Wigan kick. Lee Gilmour picked up the loose ball and fed centre Willie Talau, who gleefully dived over the line. Sean Long converted brilliantly from the touchline. After an extended spell of Wigan pressure, however, hooker Terry Newton got on the end of a grubber to kick to register his side’s first try, converted by Farrell. Wigan had a try disallowed by the Video Referee shortly afterwards. This was a real turning point in the game, as Sean Long gave Saints the lead with a penalty and grubbered into the in-goal area shortly afterwards for Willie Talau to claim his second try for a 14-6 advantage. Adrian Lam put winger Brett Dallas in at the corner as Wigan hit back to within four points. Then came another piece of magic just on half-time, as a flowing attacking move saw full-back Paul Wellens squeeze in by the posts. Long’s conversion made it 20-10 and Saints’ had increased their chances of cup glory significantly.
After the break, Wigan were forced to play ‘catch-up’ football and made several handling errors. On 50 minutes, Paul Sculthorpe powered his way over and Long added the conversion and a further penalty goal. Although Dallas scored for Wigan, the final try three minutes later by Willie Talau, following a brilliant kick and re-gather from Lance Todd trophy winner Sean Long, brought home the spoils.