Wane savours Rhinos payback
Revenge was sweet for Wigan Warriors coach Shaun Wane as the Challenge Cup holders overpowered Leeds Rhinos to reach next Saturday's Super League Grand Final.
The Warriors eased past the back-to-back champions 22-12 in a compelling semi-final at the DW Stadium to set up a derby duel with Warrington Wolves at Old Trafford.
Wane's men now have the chance to become the first club to complete the double since St Helens in 2006, which is a far cry from 2012 when they were thwarted by Leeds at the semi-final stage of both major competitions.
"I can't tell you how much those games got to me," Wane said. "That makes this win a lot more satisfying.
"This game was a bogey game for us. You can never write Leeds off - they've got that much talent. It was an important game for me. I wanted to get us over the line and I feel tremendous now."
Wigan led from the sixth minute courtesy of Iain Thornley's try but it was only 6-0 at half-time and Leeds struck back to level early in the second through Joel Moon.
However, the Warriors finished in total command and ran in further tries through Liam Farrell, Darrell Goulding and Josh Charnley, who took his total for the season to a remarkable 42.
Leeds at least had the final say when Liam Sutcliffe scored a late consolation try but it was a fitting way for Wigan to say goodbye to England internationals Sam Tomkins and Lee Mossop and Australian winger Pat Richards, who were all making their final home appearances and will get the chance to bow out on a high next weekend.
"That is something to embrace," Wane said. "The players that are leaving we love to bits and they have been a big part of the fabric of this club. That is something that drove the players on to make sure we performed.
"To score 22 points against Leeds is a great effort. While it wasn't our best performance, it was a gritty one, the kind of one you need in a semi-final, and to do it in front of our home fans was great. We will now enjoy the week for Old Trafford."
Wane said he hopes skipper Sean O'Loughlin will make his return from an Achilles injury against Warrington.
That would guarantee the loose forward his place in England's World Cup squad but Leeds second rower Jamie Jones-Buchanan is a doubt after playing on with a knee injury in Friday's match.
"He shouldn't have been on the field," Rhinos coach Brian McDermott said. "His ligament is hanging on by a thread."