Departing Wigan Warriors coach Shaun Wane wants the story of this year’s Grand Final to be about Dom Manfredi.
The winger, in just his fifth game back from a two-year injury lay-off, scored two tries as Wigan snatched their fifth Super League title in Saturday’s 12-4 win over Warrington.
Wane, Sam Tomkins, Ryan Sutton and John Bateman all marked their last game with Wigan, but Manfredi was the team’s star man.
But Wane admits he was nervous about Manfredi’s return, having seen him suffer numerous setbacks.
“His injury was very, very serious,” said Wane.
“If that would’ve happened again… I was nervous like one of my own kids playing with a problem.
“In his first game back I had my heart in my mouth.
“To see him come back and scored the tries he’s scored. It’s going to be a special few days.”
Despite deflecting attention from himself, Wane admitted the result was the ‘perfect’ way to end his 30-plus year association with the club, even if the quality of the match was below previous Grand Final standards.
“It’s the perfect end,” said the coach.
“I’m not going to put myself in a bad mood thinking about the performance because I don’t have to anymore. That’s finished.
“I’m just happy to get the win - I don’t think we were ever going to lose it - there was enough desire in the team.
“I don’t mean that in a disrespectful way to Warrington, but the way we defended our line, we just gave them too many chances to defend outline.
“It was a win and I said in the week the only way to drive out of here is with a ring and a cup and we’ve done that.”
Wane also saluted his backroom staff members including Mark Bitcon and Matty Peet who are also leaving the club.
“I’m so pleased for all my staff who’ve put up with me for many years and I’m not easy to work with or work for,” he said.
“I was just desperate. I wouldn’t have defined my career losing that today because I’m happy with what I’ve done and I think I’ve made a difference to the club, history-wise and to the players’ lives but it feels better that we’ve won.
“We’ve had a good journey, no question.”