Every season, two teams everyone expects to make it to the Grand Final emerge.
However, despite all the hype that surrounds them as the season unfolds, one of these teams, or in some cases both, miss out on the Grand Final.
This is not to discredit the sides who upset the odds to make it to Old Trafford, but rather wonder what might have been if predictions had come off as many expected.
Bradford Bulls vs Leeds Rhinos – 2003
For the first time ever, a team who finished in the top two missed out on the Grand Final in 2003. A young Leeds side had excited fans all season but couldn’t join the treble chasing Bradford Bulls at Old Trafford.
St Helens vs Leeds Rhinos – 2005
Two sides who arguably should have won, or at least been in the conversation, for the treble. The Champions Leeds started exceptionally well in 2005 and scored a record 209 tries and 1152 points. They made it to the Grand Final but for the first time ever the side who finished top missed out on the Grand Final. This would have been a long awaited first meeting between the two in a Grand Final, instead we had to wait till 2007.
Warrington Wolves vs Wigan Warriors – 2011 & 2012
In both 2011 and 2012, Warrington and Wigan finished in the top two as everyone tipped them to meet in the Grand Final. In fact, in the club call when Wigan were given the choice of Leeds and Warrington, Wigan picked Leeds because they said “Leeds and St Helens had had more than their fair share of Grand Finals” and that a meeting between Wigan and Warrington made for the “most apt Grand Final.” But in both seasons Leeds came away with the Super League trophy.
Warrington Wolves vs Hull FC – 2016
In 2016, Hull FC had spent most of the season top but a final day defeat to Warrington saw the Wolves claim the League Leaders’ Shield and Hull to slip to third. This would have set up a brilliant Grand Final and would have guaranteed a new winner of the trophy. But Wigan had something to say about that.
St Helens vs Wigan Warriors – 2022
Many expected last season to end in a derby Grand Final between the Champions St Helens and a Wigan side equipped with two star players who could stun them in a one off game. Instead it was Wigan who were stunned by Leeds in the semi-finals.