Rugby League: St Helens win back-to-back titles after freakish last-second try

St Helens have retained their Super League crown in dramatic fashion, when Jack Welsby scored the game-winning try after the full-time siren to secure an 8-4 victory over Wigan Warriors. 

With the scores locked at 4-4, St Helens fullback Tommy Makinson attempted a long-range field goal as the hooter sounded, but his effort hit the upright and bounced back into the field of play. 

Wigan fullback Bevan French was caught off-guard and Welsby, 19, reacted quickest, winning the race to the ball and grounding it just short of the dead-ball line. 

After a long review by the video referee, the try was awarded. 

"I can't put it into words how I'm feeling right now," says Welsby. "I backed Tommy to kick it, but I just chased as hard as I could and you couldn't write it, could you... I am just lost for words.

"I don't think I'll ever top anything like that in my career for my hometown, it's amazing."

In a tense match, neither side managed to breach the other's try-line in the first half. St Helens led 2-0 at halftime, courtesy of a Lachlan Coote penalty goal.

Midway through the second half, Jake Bibby edged Wigan ahead with an unconverted try, before Coote levelled things up again with his second penalty goal. 

The game seemed destined for golden-point extra time, until Welsby - the youngest player on the field - pounced on the loose ball to score the game-winning try. 

"It was unreal," says St Helens coach Kristian Woolf, who is also in charge of the Tongan national team. "It just shows you don't give up on any play.

St Helens celebrate their Grand Final win.
St Helens celebrate their Grand Final win. Photo credit: Getty

"A young kid playing his first Grand Final and he's a real player for the future... to score a try like that to win a Grand Final, it doesn't get much better than that.

"It was a tough game. We knew it would be low-scoring, as both teams defend well and we knew one try might win it."

The result was the perfect way to send off former Canterbury Bulldogs and St George Illawarra Dragons prop James Graham, who returned to St Helens mid-season. 

"It's hard to put into words," says Graham. "It's unbelievable. 

"You couldn't have scripted it. I'm gutted we can't celebrate with the fans and our friends and families, but we'll have our time."

At the same time, there was no fairy-tale finish for former England captain Sean O'Loughlin, who is hanging up the boots after 19 years and more than 450 games with Wigan.