Wigan Warriors edged out Salford Red Devils 18-12 in a thrilling Super League play-off encounter to set up a crucial derby clash with St Helens for a spot in the grand final.
Defending champions Warriors were handed a home tie courtesy of their second-place finish in the regular season, but they only just made the advantage count on Friday.
Oliver Gildart’s well-worked try put the Warriors ahead 23 minutes in, though the hosts were pegged back through George Griffin.
Salford won eight in a row to secure their spot in the top five and it looked as though they had taken the lead when Ken Sio dived over, only for the try to be disallowed.
An awful mistake from Krisnan Inu soon compounded Salford’s frustrations – his offload giving Jake Bibby little chance, with Thomas Leuluai pouncing to restore Wigan’s lead.
Joe Burgess teed up George Williams for a third Warriors try shortly after, but Salford were not finished yet as Jackson Hastings’ effort led to a grandstand finish.
Wigan defended desperately however, Lee Mossop and Hastings held up on the line and just short, respectively, before Williams made an outstanding tackle on Sio, with Adrian Lam’s side somehow holding firm against a black-and-red tide.
FULL-TIME: Wigan Warriors 18-12 Salford Red Devils
GET IN THERE!!! pic.twitter.com/4BMh7rO4zn
— Wigan Warriors (@WiganWarriorsRL) September 20, 2019
Victory means Wigan will make the short trip to Liverpool to face St Helens on Friday with a place at Old Trafford on offer.
That clash at the Totally Wicked Stadium will come a day after Salford clash with Castleford Tigers, who beat runners up Warrington Wolves on Thursday.