Salford upset the odds to beat Wigan 28-4 and will now face St Helens in their maiden Grand Final. Having lost 18-12 when the pair met earlier in the play-offs, the Red Devils were the underdogs after a remarkable season in which Ian Watson has transformed his squad from relegation candidates to Old Trafford contenders.
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Two early penalties from Krisnan Inu silenced the home crowd and with the Kiwi keeping the scoreboard ticking over, Gil Dudson also went over to see Salford 12-0 to the good at half-time. Watson’s side didn’t let up, with Joey Lussick and Lee Mossop crossing, forcing back a Wigan team bereft of inspiration. Bevan French touched down for the hosts in the closing stages but it was nothing more than a consolation.
Salford, who were moments from relegation in 2016, will now face St Helens at Old Trafford, much to the delight of the incredulous Dudson. “I’m lost for words. I couldn’t have imagined this at the end of last season, getting relegated (with Widnes) and then Salford giving me the opportunity,” he told BBC Radio 5 Live Sports Extra.
“To be in a Grand Final a year on is beyond my wildest dreams. “My family’s come up from South Wales for the game tonight and I think I’ll have a few people messaging me asking for freebies for next weekend.”