WE continue our countdown to Friday's Grand Final with a lookback at a famous Saints win over Wigan at Old Trafford.

THE years in between 1974 and 1997 saw the title of champions being decided by first past the post. That spanned the old Division 1 and through to the first two seasons of Super League.

And in that time there was an additional end of season play-off competition - the Premiership, a straight knock-out that was predominantly a top eight system.

Saints had won it in 1976, 1977 and memorably 1985 - but the victory over Wigan in 1993 was such a tonic at the time given the total dominance of their neighbours.

Under Mike McClennan Saints had begun to compete with a Wigan side that could trawl the rugby league world to cherry pick the oval-ball game's best talent.

And in 1992-93 Saints gave them a run for their money - kicking the year off with a 17-0 Charity Shield win at Gateshead.

Wigan grabbed the next pot on offer, edging the last ever Lancashire Cup Final 5-4 at a packed Knowsley Road.

But to show Saints really did mean business, they thumped Wigan 41-6 on Boxing Day...and so the cat and mouse continued with the old enemy triumphing in the Challenge Cup, which was viewed as their own personal possession back then.

The sides were inseparable on Good Friday, with the 8-8 draw agonisingly handing Wigan to title difference....

So it came down to the last game of the season to grab a reward for nine months of toil and endeavour.

And that they did with a Premiership Trophy win over Wigan in front of 36,598 at Old Trafford.

It was a tight game, with Saints taking a half-time lead courtesy of a Gary Connolly try from a rebounding Shane Cooper kick.

Wigan levelled midway through the second half through Mike Forshaw, with two smartly taken drop goals from Gus O'Donnell edging Saints into a 6-4 lead.

It remained in the balance until five minutes from time when centre Paul Loughlin polished off a cross-field movement to score on the left.

Saints had won, inflicting Wigan's first knockout defeat in any competition in 25 matches.

Chris Joynt, a young Wiganer in the Saints ranks, won the Harry Sunderland Award. And he would achieve that feat again seven years later - same place, same opponents.

Saints: Lyon; Riley, Connolly, Loughlin, Hunte; Ropati, O'Donnell; Neill, Dwyer, Mann, Joynt, Nickle, Cooper (C). Subs. Griffiths, Veivers.