Rugby League


18 Sep 2023

Academy Grand Final: St Helens versus Wigan Warriors confirmed

Academy Grand Final: St Helens versus Wigan Warriors confirmed

The top two sides at the end of the regular season – St Helens and Wigan Warriors – will contest the 2023 Academy Grand Final this Sunday (24 September).  

A hat-trick from England skipper Jonny Vaughan helped St Helens overcome Hull FC 28-8 in yesterday’s semi-final and the league leaders will have home advantage at the Totally Wicked Stadium as they bid to go one better than last year when they suffered an extra-time defeat at the hands of Leeds Rhinos. 

Wigan Warriors came from 12-0 down against Warrington Wolves to book their final spot, Lancashire’s Tom Ratchford scoring the winning try during the second half of a bruising encounter at Robin Park.  

Now unbeaten in 10 matches, the Warriors defeated Saints 28-16 at the Totally Wicked Stadium when the sides last met in August, while St Helens won handsomely 46-18 at Robin Park back in April. The two sides were separated only on points difference at the end of the regular season. 

With Wigan and St Helens also contesting the final of the Reserves competition on Sunday 1 October and both clubs heading into the Super League play-offs in outstanding form, there remains the possibility that Saints and the Warriors could feature in a hat-trick of 2023 finals: senior, reserves and academy.  

RFL Chief On-field Officer, Dave Rotheram, says: “Congratulations, on behalf of the RFL, to both clubs on reaching this year’s Academy Championship Grand Final. St Helens and Wigan have maintained excellent Academy programmes that have produced many players for Super League and England over the years, reflected in both clubs regularly achieving outstanding Academy status.  

“It’s been a groundbreaking year for Academy U18 football. Under Paul Anderson’s guidance we have been able to re-introduce the Academy Origin programme and play an international fixture in France. This saw 56 players and 22 members of staff get further development opportunities during the season.

“We must also place on record our thanks to the Academy players and coaches for their endeavours during the four-week law trials period.” 

Kick-off at the Totally Wicked Stadium on Sunday is 2pm.