Brad O’Neill highlights key Wigan Warriors attribute for Super League Grand Final success

WIGAN hooker Brad O’Neill says all year the Warriors have focused on having the best defence in Super League and that dedication paid off in the Super League Grand Final.

Wigan did not concede a single try at Old Trafford as they edged Catalans Dragons in the decider in front of more than 58,000 fans.

“All year we’ve been priding ourselves on having the best D in the competition and we knew if we had the best defence today, we’d come out on top,” O’Neill told League Express.

“I’m just proud of that. It’s great.”

O’Neill has enjoyed an impressive season, winning both the Grand Final and League Leaders’ Shield, and being nominated for Young Player of the Year.

“It feels amazing, it’s a great feeling,” he said. 

“I’m speechless. Obviously, it tops it off massively. It’s been a great year. I’ve enjoyed it. To finish on a high, on the best note that you can, I’m just over the moon.”

Wigan put a tight cover on Catalans star Sam Tomkins and didn’t give the retiring fullback any attacking opportunities.

“Sam’s been a great player for a long time,” O’Neill said. 

“He’s been at Wigan and he’s won so much at Wigan. He’s done a lot for Catalans at well. We knew he’s a dangerous player, we knew if we let him do his thing we’d be in for a long night.”

England play Tonga in a three-Test series this month but O’Neill claims he hasn’t thought about being considering for selection.

“No, to be fair I haven’t heard anything or spoken to Shaun Wane about that,” he said. 

“It would be a dream to tick off. It would be good to happen but if it doesn’t, today’s a massive thing for me.”

The 21-year-old is excited to get the chance to face NRL champions Penrith Panthers in the World Club Challenge in 2024.

“Penrith have been a great team for the past three years, they’ve won in three times in a row and Saints did that to them earlier this year,” he said. 

“Obviously if we got that opportunity again it would be a great experience to play against them. It would be a big game that I’d love to be a part of.”

Wigan have made some strong signings for next year, such as Luke Thompson, Sam Walters and Adam Keighran, and O’Neill feels a bright era tonight could be starting for the club.

“Definitely,” he said. “This is a young team and we’re adding to that. Hopefully the next four years is going to be good.”