SUPER League Chief Executive Nigel Wood has paid tribute to the fans who helped make the 214 First Utility Super League Grand Final an outstanding success.
A crowd of 70,102 watched on as St Helens, the 2014 League Leaders, secured their first Super League title since 2006 with a 14-6 victory over arch-rivals Wigan Warriors to crown a remarkable year for the club.
Whilst the biggest talking point from the match was the second-minute incident that led to the dismissal of Wigan forward Ben Flower, Wood believes no-one should lose sight of how special an event the Grand Final was.
“The 2014 Grand Final was the most spectacular show the competition has ever staged and I would like to thank all the fans who played their full part in making it such a memorable occasion,” said Wood.
“I would also like to congratulate St Helens on their victory: it has been a difficult year for the club with injuries that have tested their resources to the limit but the depth of character they showed to be crowned champions is a credit to everyone concerned.
“Like St Helens, Wigan are a team packed full of home grown talent who made a full contribution to a match that will live long in the memory.
“Whilst a lot of focus has inevitably been on the incident in the second minute, I think it’s important that we are able to celebrate what was a fantastic piece of sporting theatre.
“The disciplinary process will run its course and that should not detract from a world class event: the atmosphere at Old Trafford was terrific, both inside and outside the stadium and there was always the sense that we were experiencing something extraordinary and special.”
All incidents from the match will be considered on Monday morning by the RFL Match Review Panel as part of the routine disciplinary procedure. Any player charged with an offence from the Grand Final could appear before an independent disciplinary tribunal on Tuesday evening.
As well as the Super League trophy, St Helens’ reward for victory is the chance to represent Europe against the southern hemisphere’s top club, NRL champions South Sydney Rabbitohs in the World Club Challenge next year.
That match will be played at Langtree Park on Sunday February 22 and is the climax to three days of world class sport in the extended World Club Series which also sees Wigan host Brisbane Broncos and Warrington Wolves entertain St George-Illawarra.
“St Helens, Wigan and Warrington are three great clubs who thoroughly deserve their place in the World Club Series and will be a genuine match for their Australia opponents,” said Wood.
“South Sydney, Brisbane and St George-Illawarra are also blessed with English talent and their arrival in the UK will give a fascinating glimpse into the comparative strengths of Super League and the NRL.”
Details of ticket prices and availability for the three matches in the World Club Series will be announced later this year.