Warriors in the World Club Challenge
Ahead of February’s clash with NRL Champions Penrith Panthers at the DW Stadium, we look back at four memorable Warriors World Club Challenge victories.
The Warriors, who are the most successful English side in the World Club Challenge with four wins, will be aiming to make further history by joining Sydney Roosters in lifting the trophy a record five times.
From becoming the first English side to be crowned World Champions, to winning in front of a record crowd attendance Down Under, we look back at four memorable World Club Challenge wins:
Wigan Warriors 8-2 Manly Warringah Sea Eagles, Central Park, October 1987
A historic night unfolded at Central Park as 36,895 spectators watched Wigan Warriors become the first English side to win the competition after David Stephenson kicked four goals in the victory.
Whilst no tries were scored on the night, the sides competed in a fiery contest which saw Manly’s Ron Gibbs sent off for elbowing Joe Lydon.
Former Warriors player and head coach Shaun Wane said: “I remember the smell of fireworks from the changing rooms before the match which added to the great atmosphere outside. Manly were man for man better than us that night but we showed English spirit and matched them for firepower which won us the game.”
Wigan Warriors 21-4 Penrith Panthers, Anfield, October 1991
The Warriors enjoyed further success in their second World Club Challenge appearance which was staged at Anfield, Liverpool.
Four Frano Botica goals gave the Warriors an 8-0 lead after 13 minutes, and despite Penrith replying through Darren Willis, Sam Panapa went over to put Wigan 14-4 ahead at the break.
Botica extended the lead from the tee before a David Myers try, and a Lydon drop goal, sealed a memorable win in the closing minutes.
On the victory, two-time World Champion Steve Hampson said: “I was fortunate to play in two World Club Championship games with the first being a tough encounter against Manly in which defences were on top and no tries were scored. That was an amazing and unforgettable night.
“The second was at Anfield and while we prepared well, it was a venue we weren’t used to but we made it our ‘home’ for the night. The fans were amazing and to beat a strong Penrith side was incredible, so hopefully with a packed out DW Stadium the lads can become World Club Champions again.”
Brisbane Broncos 14-20 Wigan Warriors, ANZ Stadium, June 1994
The Warriors were crowned World Champions for a third time on a historic night in Brisbane as against the odds the Cherry and Whites defeated the Broncos in front of 54,200 – a record World Club Challenge attendance.
The Warriors, who were without injured props Kelvin Skerrett and Andy Platt, opened the scoring after seven minutes through Denis Betts before Barrie-Jon Mather crossed to give Wigan a 12-4 half time lead.
Jason Robinson increased the advantage with a spectacular solo try at the start of the second half, and despite two Broncos tries, the Warriors held on to be crowned World Champions on Aussie soil.
On the victory, Robinson recalled: “It was the biggest and best game I ever played in a Wigan jersey. Nobody gave us a chance of winning and even though it was at the end of a very tough season, and even though we had players out injured, we managed to beat the Broncos in their own back yard.”
Wigan Warriors 22-6 Cronulla Sharks, DW Stadium, February 2017
The Warriors were last crowned World Champions in 2017 when Joe Burgess, who was playing at the DW Stadium for the first time since returning from a year playing in the NRL, became only the second player to score a hat-trick in a World Club Challenge.
21,011 watched on inside the DW Stadium as the Warriors made history in becoming the first team to lift the trophy four times.
Warriors assistant coach Sean O’Loughlin, who captained the Warriors in the victory, recalled: “We went into the game as underdogs but we had a belief kind of attitude that we wanted to go and win it. Having Waney around meant he was able to speak about his memories of winning against Manly and how much it meant to him to do it – especially as it was at home.”
O’Loughlin added: “There was a real hunger for the lads to go and get it as a few had been involved in 2011, but a few hadn’t. 2017 was just a real memorable one as it was my first time getting my hands on the trophy, and it was a real honour winning a World Club Challenge with Wigan.”
Wigan Warriors will take on Penrith Panthers in a ‘Clash of Champions’ at the DW Stadium on Saturday 24 February [8pm K.O.]. Tickets for the hugely anticipated battle can be purchased HERE, as well as a number of hospitality options which remain on sale HERE.