The top two sides in super league met at Old Trafford, to see who would be crowned super league champions for 2015. It was the Leeds Rhinos who came out victorious. Edging out the Wigan Warriors by two points, to collect their third trophy of the season.
Leeds and Wigan finished the season as the top two teams after the conclusion of the super 8s. Only points difference could separate the sides after 30 games. So a closely fought encounter was predicted by many for the season finale.
During the season the two sides faced each other four times. Three times during the regular campaign, with one game played during the magic weekend. Their most recent clash came during the super 8s. A game which Leeds went on to win 25-18.
The 2015 super league grand final was one of the most eagerly anticipated games in super league history. Although Leeds Rhinos had lifted the challenge cup, and league leaders shield, in the space of a matter of months. It was Wigan Warriors who began the game as favourites in the eyes of many pundits.
It would be a game of contrasting styles. Both teams went into it strong in all areas. The Warriors had proven over the course of the season to have the better defence. They were the team who had conceded the least amount of points out of any team during the season. The Rhinos undoubtedly possessed the best attack. Scoring almost 150 more points than their opponents during the season.
Both teams would have to play to their potential in order to come away with the trophy. Wigans game is built around physicality, intensity and determination. If they could out perform Leeds in these areas, then they would have a good chance of been crowned champions.
The Rhinos game is built around creativity, and outscoring their opponents. They do this by keeping the ball in play, and off loading as often as possible. No other super league team can rip through a defence as often as Leeds. They would be counting on doing this to ensure that they ended the night as champions.
The game kicked off in front of a sell out crowd of 73,512. Wigans Joe Burgess opened the scoring, with the first try of the night after just four minutes. Leeds responded quickly. Danny McGuire touching down, and Kevin Sinfields conversion, to level the scores.
At 6-6 the game was proving to be as close as many people predicted. But Leeds would score two unanswered tries before the half time whistle, to open up a ten point lead over their rivals. The first came from Joel Moon. It was controversial as McGuire dropped the ball in the build up. After consulting the video refs, the try was awarded. The Leeds third try came just before half time. Kallum Watkins used his blistering pace to break away down the right hand side, before giving the ball to Mcguire to touch down for his second try of the night. 16-6 to the Rhinos at half time.
Wigan were much improved at the beginning of the second half. Dom Manfredi brought them back into the game, after winning the ball from a high kick, he touched down in the corner. Not long after that Wigan took the lead. Matty Bowen jinking his way over from close range, in converting his own try, he gave the Warriors the lead. 18-16.
Wigan then increased their lead by two points from a penalty. They now had a four point lead, with just under 20 minutes left remaining. But it would prove to be heartbreak for the second successive season at old trafford for the Warriors.
With just 15 minutes to go, Leeds scored what would prove to be the decisive try. A high kick caused mayhem in the wigan defence. The ball was kept alive by the Rhinos, before youngster Josh Walters touched it down. The game was level, with a Sinfield kick to come. He kicked it over the posts, to give his team the lead, and score what would be the final points of the game. Leeds showed incredible resilience in the final 25 minutes to deny Wigan.