Tale of two stars

Former Saints star Matty Smith, now a Grand Final winner with Wigan.
Former Saints star Matty Smith, now a Grand Final winner with Wigan.

TWO sporting sons of St Helens are this week trying to come to terms with their contrasting fortunes which unfolded during a tough and uncompromising Old Trafford Grand Final on Saturday night.

The agony was suffered by Warrington Wolves stand off Lee Briers and the ecstasy belonged to Wigan’s fellow half back Matty Smith as the Warriors stormed to a thunderous 30-16 victory after overturning a 16-6 half-time deficit.

Smith, who had to swallow the bitter pill of defeat when playing for St Helens against his present club in the 2010 final, said: “It’s great to be a winner second time around and an experience I’m never likely to forget.”

Smith, who had lifted the Lance Todd Trophy after Wigan’s Challenge Cup Final victory over Hull FC in August, said: “To win both major trophies in one season and to be named as the man of the match in the Wembley final is a dream come true for me.”

Of Wigan stunning comeback to complete a league and cup double, which was last achieved by Saints in 2006, he added: “Warrington were fantastic in the first half when they blew us off the park, but to come back like we did was brilliant.

“Other teams may have rolled over but we didn’t and to complete a double shows what a great group of players we possess.”

A crestfallen Briers, experiencing defeat in the final for a second sucessive year, said: “I don’t know whether it’s worse than last year. It’s hard to explain really.

“I thought we had it at one stage but we suffered a few disruptions and fair play to Wigan they strangled us in the second half.

“However, that’s what rugby is all about.

“It was a great achievement reaching the final but at the end of the day we are disappointed at not getting the right result.

“We’’ll get it one day but it might not be in my time.”