Wigan Warriors coach Shaun Wane saluted his side's defence after beating Leeds Rhinos to make the Super League Grand Final.
The Warriors ran in three second-half tries in an impressive 22-12 victory in the second semi-final and set up an Old Trafford decider with Warrington next Saturday.
After wearing down the reigning champions to reach a second Grand Final in four years, Wane said: "I'm very happy. I don't think we were at our best but we did enough to win the game.
"We need to improve. I don't think the week off did us any good - we were a bit underdone - but it was a tough arm wrestle tonight and it has put us in good spirits for next week.
"It was a gritty performance, which is what you need in a semi-final. I thought we defended tough. Leeds are a good team, they can play. But we concentrated in defence and we completed 100% in the second half, which is a great effort.
"There is still a lot of work to be done. Warrington are a great team but there are areas where we can improve."
Having trailed 6-0 at the interval, Leeds drew level with a Joel Moon try before they swiftly ran out of steam.
"We had a big dig," Rhinos coach Brian McDermott said. "Wigan came out fast, They looked more energised at the start of the game. We were on the back foot right from the off, we never seemed to get a grip on the game.
"We were never far off but we always seemed to be yard behind. We could have been smarter but, in terms of effort, we couldn't have given any more. I'm a proud man in charge of a disappointed team."
Second rower Jamie Jones-Buchanan was one of the Leeds players who defied injury to play in their biggest game of the season, before coming off eight minutes before half-time to cast doubt on his involvement for England in the World Cup.
"He shouldn't have been on the field," McDermott said. "His ligament is hanging on by a thread. It's up to Jonesy whether he's available for the World Cup. If it goes, it goes, if not he could do a job."