Paul Wellens finally exorcised the five ghosts which have “haunted” him through recent years by leading St Helens to a dramatic 14-6 victory over Wigan in the Super League Grand Final.
Saints were finalists five years in a row between 2007 and 2011, losing on every occasion, but made amends at Old Trafford on Saturday as tries from Sia Soliola and Tom Makinson clinched the trophy.
Mark Percival scored three goals while a first-half Joe Burgess try and Matty Smith’s goal got their arch-rivals Wigan on the scoreboard.
Saints captain Wellens told Sky Sports 1: “I’ve told a fair few lies in press conferences this week about those five years not bothering me but it has absolutely haunted me.
“Tonight makes up for everything.
“I’ve also got to say that this one’s for our supporters.
“They’ve lined the terraces here year on year, for five years and we’ve gone and lost. They’ve suffered like the rest of us so that’s for them tonight.”
In addition to surrendering their Super League crown, Wigan’s bad night out was sullied by Ben Flower as the Wales international became the first player to be sent off in a Grand Final.
The 26-year-old lasted less than three minutes before knocking Lance Hohaia to the ground and then following up by punching him in the face.