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York Valkyrie booked their place in the Betfred Women’s Super League Grand Final courtesy of a hard-fought 22-6 victory over Wigan Warriors at the LNER Community Stadium.
York were forced to come from behind after Grace Banks' early opener but responded with a couple of quick-fire tries from Liv Whitehead and Liv Gale before Tara Jane Stanley went over before half-time.
Lacey Owen crossed the second-half's only try late on to seal their Grand Final ticket for a second successive season, with Leeds Rhinos once again the opposition.
The LNER Community Stadium was stunned into silence in the third minute as Banks intercepted a Sade Rihari pass before charging 80 metres to touch down under the sticks. Beri Salihi successfully kicked the conversion to move the visitors 6-0 ahead.
The early effort appeared to fluster the Valkyrie who struggled to find their feet in the early minutes of the contest.
Nevertheless, the hosts eventually capitalised on a 20th-minute penalty to shift the momentum in their favour.
Rihari and Stanley showed quick hands as they moved the ball out wide, with Liv Whitehead eventually getting over in the corner from the latter's cut-out pass.
Stanley was unable to add the extras from the tight angle, leaving the Valkyrie trailing 6-4.
It did not take long for the hosts to move in front, as just two minutes on from Whitehead’s try, Gale joined her on the scoresheet.
The scrum-half capitalised on a big break from Savannah Andrade before penetrating a gap in Wigan’s defence. Stanley’s conversion made it 10-6.
With just four minutes remaining before the interval, the hosts produced another moment of magic.
On this occasion, Rihari unleashed Stanley with a quick pass before the full-back forced her way over the whitewash through numerous bodies for a 14-6 lead.
Early in the second half, York continued to pile on the pressure as they chased more points.
Despite their efforts, Wigan were able to hold out defensively and prevent the eight-point gap from expanding.
Similarly to the first half, it took a Wigan penalty for York to get on the scoreboard. This time, Stanley added two points with a simple goal from around 10 metres out.
Wigan refused to throw in the towel and produced a flurry of attacks late on in the second period, though Valkyrie produced a solid defensive effort to keep the visitors at bay.
Defence soon turned into attack as Owen found the whitewash with six minutes left from Stanley's pass, the creator adding the extras for a 22-6 score at the final hooter.
Leeds Rhinos will be the Valkyrie's opponents on Sunday 8th October (3pm) at the LNER Community Stadium after the West Yorkshire side edged St Helens 20-16 at the Totally Wicked Stadium.
York: Stanley, Kershaw, Renouf, Roberts, Whitehead, Rihari, Gale, Akpa, Peach, Staveley, Andrade, Owen, Wood
Subs used: Bell, Marshall, Sharp. Subs not used: Hyde
Tries: Whitehead (22'), Gale (25'), Stanley (36'), Owen (74')
Goals: Stanley 3/5
Wigan: Salihi, Miller, Davies, Jones, Hilton, Banks, Doria, Speakman, Marsh, Coleman, Hunter, Molyneux, Thompson
Subs (all used): Jones, Johnson, Hayes, Bardsley
Tries: Banks (3')
Goals: Salihi (1/1)
Geoff Pryce Player of the Match in partnership with Isaac Poad Beer: Elisa Akpa