20th November 2020, 23:24 | super_league
Sean O’Loughlin will get the chance to bring down the curtain on his glorious career in the Betfred Super League Grand Final after Wigan Warriors eased their way past Hull FC 29-2 in Thursday's play-off semi-final at the DW Stadium.
The Warriors skipper was drafted in for only his seventh match of 2020 and he played his part as the Warriors secured an 11th Grand Final appearance.
O’Loughlin, who turns 38 next Tuesday, will make his 459th appearance for his home-town club in next Friday’s title decider at the KCOM Stadium against arch rivals St Helens - who defeated the Catalans Dragons in a 48-2 victory at the Totally Wicked Stadium in the second semi-final on Friday.
A 13th-minute penalty goal from Marc Sneyd put the Black and Whites into an early lead but that proved to be their only points, after Bureta Faraimo had a try disallowed for obstruction, as Wigan eventually took a foothold in the match.
Ill-discipline from Hull centre Josh Griffin forfeited a promising attacking position for the visitors and the Warriors immediately scored the opening try through Joe Burgess before Morgan Smith touched down Zak Hardaker's grubber kick moments later.
Hardarker converted both tries before Smith added a drop-goal before half-time interval to increase their lead to 13-2.
O'Loughlin and Thomas Leuluai combined to put Bevan French through, who found Hardaker on the inside to touch down unopposed shortly after the restart.
French denied Sneyd with a brilliant try-saving tackle, while Hull also had another try chalked off as any chance of a comeback were extinguished.
Wigan sealed their dominant performance with two late scores through winger Jake Bibby and French's 13th try of the season.
Defending champions St Helens ran in eight tries to book their place in the Grand Final against their arch rivals.
Centre Kevin Naiqama scored a hat-trick and full-back Lachlan Coote contributed 24 points as the hosts contained the Dragons' physicality.
The French side kicked an early penalty through James Maloney but when the Australian half-back was sin-binned for a high tackle after 12 minutes, he returned to the field with his side 8-2 behind.
Coote scored the opening try before adding a conversion and penalty and, despite Maloney's return, Naiqama crossed for his first score.
Coote added another penalty to trail 14-2 at the break but Naiqama added his second just two minutes after the restart to extend Saints' lead.
Full-back Coote crossed for this second try before Jonny Lomax got on the scoreboard for his side's fifth score of the match.
Benjamin Garcia was sin-binned for the visitors for a high shot on Lomax, and Saints took full advantage with James Bentley touching down.
The hosts added more gloss to the scoreline as Naiqama, who completed his treble, and Regan Grace both scored long-range counter-attacking tries as Coote took his goal tally to eight from nine attempts.