Warrington Wolves beat St Helens to earn a first trip to the Super League Grand Final
Last Updated: 29/09/12 9:33pm
Mark Flanagan of St Helens attempts an offload
Warrington reached their first Super League Grand Final and ended St Helens' run of six straight trips to Old Trafford with a 36-18 victory at Langtree Park.
Two weeks after losing at home to Saints in the opening round of the play-offs, the Wolves roared back with a dominant second half display after trailing 14-6 midway through the first half.
Tommy Makinson put Saints ahead with a superb one-handed finish in the corner but the Wolves responded with a flowing move that put Chris Riley sliding in by the opposite flag.
Brett Hodgson kicked the goal and the visitors were ahead, only for Francis Meli to scoot over after a superb offload from Mark Flanagan.
Makinson again missed the kick but the lead was stretched to 14-6 after Hodgson failed to deal with a high kick and Paul Wellens scooped up the loose ball to score a converted try.
Despite all Saints' dominance, that was their high water mark and Scott Grix' try following a brilliant handling move was to prove an ominous sign.
The second half belonged to Warrington once Meli spilled a high kick and Joel Monaghan was first to react.
Ryan Atkins then sent Trent Waterhouse in for the first of two quickfire tries from the Australian, the second a powerful individual finish.
Riley's second try in the corner wrapped up the victory for Warrington, with Meli's fingertip finish by the corner flag no more than an impressive consolation for Saints.
Warrington will meet Leeds in the domestic game's showpiece occasion next Saturday - with the Rhinos heading for Old Trafford for the sixth time in seven years.
But despite their inexperience, Warrington will start as favourites as they bid to add the Super League title to the Challenge Cup they won in August with victory over the Rhinos.
Wolves coach Tony Smith will become the first man to lead two different sides out at Old Trafford. He also coached Leeds to their first Grand Final success in 2004.