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Wigan RL History - 1996 Season

Click to View: 1995-1996 Season or 1997 Season

A lucrative TV deal with Sky Sports meant massive changes for Rugby League in 1996. The sport moved from winter to summer with the season now running from early spring to early autumn. Sky increased broadcast coverage to two games a week, one on a Friday and the other on Saturday Night. The Video Referee was introduced to help the referee with difficult try scoring decisions in all televised matches with decisions being relayed on a "Big Screen". The "Salary Cap" was introduced which meant every team had the same amount of money to spend on wages. This led to a more even competition. 1996 also saw the introduction of squad numbers and names on the back of shirts although Wigan had done this for a couple of cup finals previously. Wigan also played a competitive match outside the UK for the first time in July 1996 when they travelled to play Paris St Germain, the newly introduced French Super League team.

Wigan Final League Position: 2nd (Coach: Graeme West)
Stones Bitter Super League Champions:
St Helens
Silk Cut Challenge Cup Winners: St Helens (40-32 v Bradford)
Stones Bitter Premiership Trophy Winners: Wigan Warriors (5 - 44-14 v St Helens)
1st Division Champions: Salford Reds
2nd Division Champions: Hull Kingston Rovers

1996 Stones Bitter Super League I Results CC = Challenge Cup PT = Premiership Trophy
Date Opposition Venue KO Resultl Tries Goals Report Att Referee TV
Sun 28 Jan CC R4: Bramley Home 3:00 Won 74-12 Quinnell 2, Connolly, Offiah 4, Radlinski 2, Robinson, Farrell 2, Cowie, Tuigamala Paul 4, Hall 5 Click Here

4627

P.Lee

-

Sun 11 Feb CC R5: Salford Away 3:00 Lost 16-26 Tuigamala 2, Offiah Paul 3 Click Here

10000

D.Campbell

-

Sat 30 Mar Oldham Bears Away 6:00 Won 56-16 Connolly 3, Paul, Radlinski 2, Offiah 2, Edwards 2, Hall Farrell 8 Click Here

7709

D.Campbell

Fri 5 Apr St Helens Away 3:30 Lost 26-41 O'Connor, Tuigamala, Hall 2, Smyth Paul 3 Click Here

15883

S.Cummings

Mon 8 Apr Warrington Wolves Home 6:30 Won 42-14 Paul, Smyth, Radlinski, Edwards 2, Haughton, A.Johnson Paul 1, Farrell 6 Click Here

14620

C.Morris

-

Sun 14 Apr Castleford Tigers Away 6:00 Won 28-10 Farrell, Robinson, Smyth, Paul, Connolly Farrell 4 Click Here

7985

C.Morris

-

Fri 19 Apr Bradford Bulls Home 7:30 Won 22-06 Paul, Craig, Haughton, Murdock Farrell 3 Click Here

9872

D.Campbell

Sun 5 May Paris St Germain Home 6:30 Won 76-08 Smyth 3, Paul 3, Connolly 2, Haughton 2, Farrell, Cassidy, Radlinski, Murdock Farrell 4, Paul 6 Click Here

10675

S.Presley

-

Tue 14 May Halifax Blue Sox Away 7:30 Won 50-04 Cassidy, Smyth 2, Edwards, Connolly, Robinson 2, Murdock, Haughton Farrell 5, Hall 2 Click Here

5269

S.Cummings

-

Sat 18 May Workington Town Away 7:30 Won 64-16 Farrell 2, Craig, Robinson 2, Edwards, Offiah, Tuigamala 2, Murdock, Hall Farrell 8, Paul 1,
Tuigamala 1
Click Here

3176

R.Smith

Wed 29 May Sheffield Eagles Home 7:30 Won 50-06 Connolly, Hall, Cassidy, Offiah 3, Paul, Smyth, A.Johnson Farrell 7 Click Here

9158

S.Presley

-

Sat 1 June Leeds Rhinos Away 6:00 Won 40-20 Robinson, Smyth 2, Paul, Offiah, Murdock Farrell 8 Click Here

9508

S.Presley

Sun 9 June London Broncos Home 6:30 Draw 18-18 Robinson, Tuigamala, Murdock Farrell 3 Click Here

9189

C.Morris

(H)

Sun 16 June Oldham Bears Home 6:30 Won 44-16 Haughton, Smyth 2, Robinson 3, Connolly, Quinnell, Ellison Farrell 2, Hall 1,
Edwards 1
Click Here

7226

R.Smith

-

Fri 21 June St Helens Home 7:30 Won 35-19 Smyth, Robinson 2, Tuigamala, Murdock, Haughton Paul 3, Hall 2,
Robinson DG
Click Here

20429

D.Campbell

Sun 30 June Warrington Wolves Away 3:00 Won 21-00 Paul 2, Smyth 2 Connolly 2, Wright DG Click Here

8103

S.Presley

(H)

Fri 5 July Castleford Tigers Home 7:30 Won 26-25 Robinson 2, Tuigamala, A.Johnson Farrell 5 Click Here

8180

C.Morris

-

Fri 12 July Bradford Bulls Away 7:30 Lost 12-20 Ellison, Paul Farrell 2 Click Here

17360

R.Smith

Sat 20 July Paris St Germain Away 8:00 Won 24-20 Robinson, Tuigamala, Radlinski, A.Johnson Farrell 4 Click Here

5428

D.Campbell

-

Fri 26 July Halifax Blue Sox Home 7:30 Won 34-26 Radlinski, Ellison, Connolly, Tuigamala, Paul, Murdock Farrell 5 Click Here

8221

R.Smith

Sat 3 Aug Sheffield Eagles Away 6:30 Won 54-12 Paul 2, Robinson, Haughton, Connolly, Murdock, Edwards, Hall, Ellison Farrell 9 Click Here

5103

S.Presley

Fri 9 Aug Leeds Rhinos Home 7:30 Won 68-14 Robinson 5, Tuigamala, Murdock, Connolly 2, Cowie, Edwards 2, Radlinski Farrell 8 Click Here

7814

S.Presley

Sat 17 Aug London Broncos Away 6:00 Won 34-13 Paul 2, Edwards, Robinson, A.Johnson, Tuigamala Farrell 5 Click Here

10014

D.Campbell

Sat 24 Aug Workington Town Home 6:00 Won 78-04 Paul 3, Barrow 3, Haughton 2, Edwards 2, Robinson 2, Farrell, Ellison Farrell 9, Tuigamala 2 Click Here

6466

R.Smith

Sat 31 Aug PT SF: Bradford Home 7:00 Won 42-36 Edwards 4, Radlinski, Ellison 2, Paul Farrell 5 Click Here

9878

D.Campbell

Sun 8 Sept PT Final: St Helens MUFC 7:00 Won 44-14 Connolly, Edwards, Ellison 3, Haughton, Paul, Robinson, Murdock Farrell 6 Click Here

35013

D.Campbell

1996 Season Team Sheets List
alaaDatealaa Opponent aIResultIL 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 Sub Sub Sub Sub
Sun 28 Jan Bram (H) W(CCR4) ConnollylT RobinsonlT TuigamalalT RadlinskilT2 OffiahlT4 PaullG4 Edwards CowielT HalllG5 O'Connor QuinnelllT2 Cassidy Haughton Smyth FarrelllT - -
Sun 11 Feb Sal (A) L(CCR5) Connolly Robinson TuigamalalT2 Radlinski OffiahlT PaullG3 Edwards Cowie Hall O'Connor Quinnell Haughton Farrell Skerrett Craig - -
Sat 30 Mar Old (A) W56-16 RadlinskilT2 Robinson Tuigamala ConnollylT3 OffiahlT2 PaullT EdwardslT2 Cowie HalllT O'Connor Quinnell Cassidy FarrelllG8 Smyth Haughton A.Johnson Skerrett
Fri 5 Apr St H (A) L16-41 Radlinski Robinson TuigamalalT Connolly Offiah PaullG3 Edwards Cowie HalllT2 O'ConnorlT Quinnell Cassidy Farrell SmythlT Haughton A.Johnson Skerrett
Mon 8 Apr War (H) W42-14 RadlinskilT Robinson Tuigamala Connolly SmythlT PaullTlG EdwardslT2 Cowie Hall O'Connor Quinnell Cassidy FarrelllG6 Murdock HaughtonlT A.JohnsonlT Skerrett
Sun 14 Apr Cas (A) W28-10 PaullT RobinsonlT Tuigamala ConnollylT Radlinski Edwards Murdock Cowie Hall O'Connor Quinnell Cassidy FarrelllTlG4 SmythlT Haughton A.Johnson Skerrett
Fri 19 Apr Bra (H) W22-06 Radlinski CraiglT Tuigamala Connolly Smyth PaullT Edwards Cowie HalllT O'Connor Quinnell Cassidy FarrelllG3 MurdocklT Haughton A.Johnson Skerrett
Sun 5 May Par (H) W76-10 RadlinskilT Robinson Tuigamala ConnollylT2 SmythlT3 PaullT3lG6 Edwards Cowie Hall O'Connor Quinnell CassidylT FarrelllTlG4 MurdocklT HaughtonlT2 A.Johnson Baynes
Tue 14 May Hal (A) W50-04 Radlinski SmythlT2 Tuigamala ConnollylT Offiah RobinsonlT2 EdwardslT Cowie HalllG2 O'Connor HaughtonlT CassidylT FarrelllG5 MurdocklT Craig A.Johnson Baynes
Sat 18 May Wor (A) W64-16 Radlinski Smyth TuigamalalT2lG CraiglT OffiahlT RobinsonlT2 EdwardslT Cassidy HalllT O'Connor Haughton FarrelllT2lG8 PaullG MurdocklT Baynes A.Johnson Tatupu
Wed 29 May Shef (H) W50-06 Radlinski SmythlT Tuigamala ConnollylT OffiahlT3 Robinson Edwards Cowie HalllT O'Connor CassidylT FarrelllG7 PaullT Murdock Haughton A.JohnsonlT Tatupu
Sat 1 June Lee (A) W40-20 Radlinski SmythlT2 PaullT Connolly OffiahlT RobinsonlT Edwards Cowie Hall O'Connor Haughton Cassidy FarrelllG8 MurdocklT Craig A.Johnson Tatupu
Sun 9 June Lon (H) D18-18 Connolly Smyth TuigamalalT Paul Offiah RobinsonlT Edwards Cowie Hall O'Connor Haughton Cassidy FarrelllG3 MurdocklT Craig A.Johnson Quinnell
Sun 16 June Old (H) W44-16 ConnollylT SmythlT2 Tuigamala Craig RobinsonlT3 EdwardslG Murdock Cowie HalllG O'Connor HaughtonlT Cassidy FarrelllG2 EllisonlT Barrow A.Johnson QuinnellTl
Fri 21 June St H (H) W35-19 RobinsonlT2lDG SmythlT TuigamalalT Connolly Offiah PaullG3 Edwards Cowie HalllG2 O'Connor HaughtonlT Cassidy Farrell MurdocklT Craig A.Johnson Quinnell
Sun 30 June War (A) W21-00 Robinson SmythlT2 Tuigamala ConnollylG2 Craig PaullT2 Edwards Cassidy Hall O'Connor Haughton Farrell A.Johnson Murdock Barrow Knowles WrightlDG
Fri 5 July Cas (H) W26-25 RobinsonlT2 Ellison TuigamalalT Connolly Craig Edwards Murdock Cassidy Hall O'Connor Haughton FarrelllG5 A.JohnsonlT Long Barrow Knowles Wright
Fri 12 July Bra (A) L12-20 Radlinski Robinson Tuigamala Connolly EllisonlT PaullT Edwards Cassidy Hall O'Connor Haughton FarrelllG2 A.Johnson Long Barrow Knowles Murdock
Sat 20 July Par (A) W24-20 RadlinskilT RobinsonlT TuigamalalT Connolly Ellison Paul Murdock Cassidy Hall O'Connor Haughton FarrelllG4 A.JohnsonlT Long Barrow Knowles Tallec
Fri 26 July Hal (H) W34-26 RadlinskilT Robinson TuigamalalT ConnollylT EllisonlT PaullT MurdocklT Cowie Hall O'Connor Haughton Cassidy FarrelllG5 Craig Barrow P.Johnson Skerrett
Sat 3 Aug Shef (A) W54-12 Radlinski RobinsonlT Tuigamala ConnollylT EllisonlT PaullT2 MurdocklT Cowie HalllT O'Connor HaughtonlT Cassidy FarrelllG9 EdwardslT Barrow Smyth Skerrett
Fri 9 Aug Lee (H) W68-14 RadlinskilT RobinsonlT5 TuigamalalT ConnollylT2 Ellison Paul MurdocklT Skerrett Hall O'Connor Haughton Cassidy FarrelllG8 EdwardslT2 Smyth A.Johnson CowielT
Sat 17 Aug Lon (A) W34-13 Radlinski RobinsonlT TuigamalalT Connolly Ellison PaullT2 Murdock Cowie Hall O'Connor Haughton Cassidy FarrelllG5 EdwardslT Barrow A.JohnsonlT Cardiss*
Sat 24 Aug Wor (H) W78-04 Radlinski RobinsonlT2 TuigamalalG2 Connolly EllisonlT PaullT3 EdwardslT2 Cowie Hall O'Connor HaughtonlT2 Cassidy FarrelllTlG9 Murdock BarrowlT3 A.Johnson Skerrett
Sat 31 Aug Bra (H) W(PTSF) RadlinskilT EllisonlT2 Tuigamala Connolly Robinson PaullT EdwardslT4 Cowie Hall O'Connor Haughton Cassidy FarrelllG5 Murdock* Barrow A.Johnson* Skerrett
Sun 8 Sept St H (N) W(PTF) Radlinski EllisonlT3 Tuigamala ConnollylT RobinsonlT PaullT EdwardslT Skerrett Hall O'Connor HaughtonlT Cassidy FarrelllG6 MurdocklT Barrow A.Johnson Cowie

*Daryl Cardiss was an unused sub in the 34-13 win over London on 17th August.
*Craig Murdock & Andy Johnson were unused subs in the Premiership Trophy Semi Final v Bradford on 31st August.


Squad

Appearances

Scoring

NoPlayerStartsSubsTotalTriesGoalsDG Points
1 Kris Radlinski 21 - 21 10 - - 40
2 Jason Robinson 25 - 25 26 - 1 105
3 Va'aiga Tuigamala 25 - 25 13 3 - 58
4 Gary Connolly 25 - 25 15 2 - 64
5 Martin Offiah 10 - 10 12 - - 48
6 Henry Paul 23 - 23 22 19 - 126
7 Shaun Edwards 21 3 24 17 1 - 70
8 Kelvin Skerrett 2 10 12 - - - -
9 Martin Hall 26 - 26 6 10 - 44
10 Terry O'Connor 26 - 26 1 - - 4
11 Simon Haughton 19 7 26 11 - - 44
12 Mick Cassidy 25 - 25 3 - - 12
13 Andy Farrell 25 1 26 7 113 - 254
14 Rob Smyth 11 6 17 16 - - 64
15 Danny Ellison 10 1 11 10 - - 40
16 Scott Quinnell 8 3 11 3 - - 12
17 Andy Johnson 4 17 21 5 - - 20
18 Craig Murdock 8 13 21 11 - - 40
19 Martin Dermott - - - - - - -
20 Daryl Cardiss - 1 1 - - - -
21 Nigel Wright - 2 2 - - 1 1
21 Andy Craig 5 6 11 2 - - 8
22 Steve Barrow - 10 10 3 - - 12
22 Paul Johnson - 1 1 - - - -
23 Matthew Knowles - 3 3 - - - -
24 Shem Tatupu - 3 3 - - - -
25 Neil Cowie 19 2 21 2 - - 8
26 Sean Long - 3 3 - - - -
27 Neil Baynes - 3 3 - - - -
28 Gael Tallec - 1 1 - - - -
-Totals: - - - 195 148 2 1078

Top Appearances (Total Games: 26)
No Player Starts Subs Total
1 Martin Hall 26 - 26
2 Terry O'Connor 26 - 26
3 Andy Farrell 25 1 26
4 Simon Haughton 19 7 26
5 Mick Cassidy 25 - 25
6 Gary Connolly 25 - 25
7 Jason Robinson 25 - 25
8 Va'aiga Tuigamala 25 - 25
9 Shaun Edwards 21 3 24
10 Henry Paul 23 - 23
11 Kris Radlinski 21 - 21
12 Neil Cowie 19 2 21
13 Craig Murdock 8 13 21
14 Andy Johnson 4 17 21
15 Rob Smyth 11 6 17
16 Kelvin Skerrett 2 10 12
17 Danny Ellison 10 1 11
18 Scott Quinnell 8 3 11
19 Andy Craig 5 6 11
20 Martin Offiah 10 - 10
21 Steve Barrow - 10 10
22 Neil Baynes - 3 3
23 Matthew Knowles - 3 3
24 Sean Long - 3 3
25 Shem Tatupu - 3 3
26 Nigel Wright - 2 2
27 Daryl Cardiss - 1 1
28 Paul Johnson - 1 1
29 Gael Tallec - 1 1

Top Try Scorers
No PlayerTries
1 Jason Robinson 26
2 Henry Paul 22
3 Shaun Edwards 17
4 Rob Smyth 16
5 Gary Connolly 15
6 Va'aiga Tuigamala 13
7 Martin Offiah 12
8 Simon Haughton 11
9 Craig Murdock 11
10 Danny Ellison 10
11 Kris Radlinski 10
12 Andy Farrell 7
13 Martin Hall 6
14 Andy Johnson 5
15 Steve Barrow 3
16 Mick Cassidy 3
17 Scott Quinnell 3
18 Neil Cowie 2
19 Andrew Craig 2
20 Terry O'Connor 1

Top Goal Kickers
No Player Goals
1 Andy Farrell 113
2 Henry Paul 19
3 Martin Hall 10
4 Gary Connolly 2
5 Va'aiga Tuigamala 3
6 Shaun Edwards 1

Top Drop Goal Kickers
No Player Drops
1 Jason Robinson 1
2 Nigel Wright 1

Stats do not include the Challenge Matches v Bath or Middlesex 7s.

Other Wigan Matches

1996 Cross Code Rugby Challenge
Date Opposition Venue Result Report Att
Wed 8 May Rugby League Rules: Bath Maine Road Won 82-06 Click Here 20418
Tries: Offiah 6, Robinson 2, O'Connor 2, A.Johnson 2, Paul, Quinnell, Murdock, Cassidy.
Goals: Farrell
4, Hall 5.
Sat 25 May Rugby Union Rules: Bath Twickenham Lost 19-44 Click Here 42000
Tries: Murdock 2, Tuigamala. Goals: Farrell 2.

1996 Middlesex 7s Rugby Union - Twickenham
Date Venue Result
Sat 11 May Round 1: Richmond RUFC Won 48-05
Tries: Offiah 2, Paul 2, Robinson 2, Tuigamala, Edwards.
Sat 11 May Round 2: Harlequins RUFC Won 36-24
Tries: Offiah 2, Paul 2, Robinson, Tuigamala.
Sat 11 May Semi Final: Leicester RUFC Won 35-12
Tries: Farrell 2, Smyth 2, Tuigamala.
Sat 11 May Final: London Wasps RUFC Won 38-15
Tries: Offiah 2, Connolly, Edwards, Robinson, Tuigamala.

Click Here for article on Middlesex Sevens.

1996 Pre Season Friendly
Date Opposition Venue Result
Sun 24 Mar Salford City Reds Away Draw 34-34

In 1996 the League moved to a summer competition.

Paris St Germain entered the competition, being admitted directly to the Super League. South Wales joined the second division but only lasted a year. Some felt that South Wales should also have been allowed entry to the Super League. Highfield changed their name to Prescot Panthers. Halifax added Blue Sox to their name. Castleford added Tigers to their name. Huddersfield added Giants to their name. Batley added Bulldogs to their name. Swinton added Lions to their name.

1996 Stones Bitter Super League I Final Table

- Team P W D L F A Diff Pts
1 St Helens 22 20 0 2 950 455 +495 40
2 Wigan Warriors 22 19 1 2 902 326 +576 39
3 Bradford Bulls 22 17 0 5 767 409 +358 34
4 London Broncos 22 12 1 9 611 462 +149 25
5 Warrington Wolves 22 12 0 10 569 565 +4 24
6 Halifax Blue Sox 22 10 1 11 667 567 +100 21
7 Sheffield Eagles 22 10 0 12 599 730 -131 20
8 Oldham Bears 22 9 1 12 473 681 -208 19
9 Castleford Tigers 22 9 0 13 548 599 -51 18
10 Leeds Rhinos 22 6 0 16 555 745 -190 12
11 Paris St Germain 22 3 1 18 398 795 -397 7
12 Workington Town 22 2 1 19 325 1021 -696 5

Workington Town were demoted to First Division.

First Division Championship
Team P W D L F A Pts
Salford Reds 20 18 0 2 733 298 36
Keighley Cougars 20 14 2 4 558 333 30
Hull 20 14 0 6 565 392 28
Featherstone Rovers 20 12 2 6 557 371 26
Huddersfield Giants 20 12 0 8 557 308 24
Wakefield Trinity 20 10 1 9 485 455 21
Widnes 20 9 1 10 413 447 19
Dewsbury 20 6 1 13 264 618 13
Whitehaven 20 5 1 14 328 546 11
Rochdale Hornets 20 2 2 16 348 602 6
Batley Bulldogs 20 2 2 16 230 668 6

Salford Reds were promoted to the Super League. Rochdale Hornets and Batley Bulldogs were demoted to Second Division.

Second Division Championship
Team P W D L F A Pts
Hull Kingston Rovers 22 21 0 1 1009 294 42
Swinton Lions 22 18 0 4 785 295 36
Hunslet Hawks 22 18 0 4 730 326 36
Carlisle 22 13 0 9 654 486 26
Doncaster Dragons 22 13 0 9 500 540 26
South Wales 22 12 0 10 528 548 24
Leigh Centurions 22 10 0 12 594 510 20
York 22 9 0 13 449 603 18
Chorley Chieftains 22 6 0 16 354 723 12
Barrow Braves 22 5 0 17 354 651 10
Bramley 22 5 0 17 360 759 10
Prescot Panthers 22 2 0 20 301 883 4

Hull Kingston Rovers and Swinton Lions were promoted to the First Division.

Two months after the shock Challenge Cup defeat to 1st Division Salford, a defeat which had ended our long 9 year unbeaten cup run Wigan played their first ever match in the new era of the summer Super League on Saturday 30th March 1996. The new competition had been launched a night earlier when new French side Paris St Germain defeated Sheffield Eagles at the Charlety Stadium in Paris. The new era was launched with great razmatazz. All clubs had become professional and with the new era most sides attached nicknames to themselves. Wigan became the Wigan Warriors and still under the leadership of coach Graeme West they travelled to Boundary Park in Oldham for their first historic match. They comfortably beat the Oldham Bears 56-16, watched by 7,709. The tries scorers in that first historic match were Gary Connolly (3), Shaun Edwards, Henry Paul, Kris Radlinski and Martin Offiah.

The new competition had launched during a period of time in which Wigan had dominated the game. At the start of the year everyone expected Wigan to simply go on winning everything but this was a faster, tougher league which was wide open for anyone to win.

In Round 2 Wigan travelled to St Helens for the traditional Good Friday match. With the switch to summer the Boxing Day match could no longer be played but the Good Friday tradition was kept in place. In recent seasons Saints had been so near but yet so far from beating Wigan, we always found an extra gear to overcome them. Not this time though as Saints won 41-26, a result which would prove crucial come the end of the year. Wigan bounced back from the loss in good form, winning their next eight league matches.

May 1996 saw Wigan take part in a unique "cross code challenge" series with Rugby Union side Bath. Basically the two sides played each other twice, once under league rules and once under union rules. The fixture was a "necessity in financial terms" for Wigan who needed to fill a financial hole created by Wigan's Challenge Cup failure earlier in the season.

The league match took place on May 8th at Maine Road, the former home of Manchester City Football Club. Wigan showed little mercy to their union opponents, winning 82-6. Martin Offiah led the way with six tries, while Jason Robinson (2), Terry O'Connor (2), Andy Johnson (2), Henry Paul, Scott Quinnell, Craig Murdock and Mick Cassidy all grabbed touchdowns in the scoring spree. Andy Farrell added four goals and Martin Hall five. Bath's cosolation try and goal, much to the delight of the crowd, came through Jonathan Callard when he darted over in the 48th minute.

In between the two clashes Wigan took part in the Rugby Union Middlesex 7s at Twickenham, winning it with absolute ease. Wigan demolished all-comers - including three of England's top four union clubs. Harlequins, Leicester and Wasps, in the final, vanished in a torrent of tries, Wigan scoring 25 to add to the 16 they hammered in against Bath in the full league game last Wednesday.

A week later they returned to Twickenham for the second leg of the cross code challenge played under 15 a side rules. Wigan lost 19-44 but scored a memorable length of the field try which was finished off by Craig Murdock.

In June Wigan drew with London Broncos at Central Park, having held an 18-4 lead after 41 minutes. London fought back to snatch a draw as Terry Matterson kicked a conversion off the touchline. Former player Joe Lydon, who at the time was Central Park "football manager", admitted: "Losing a point could cost us the championship. The result would play a big part in the eventual destiny of the title.

Two weeks later Wigan met title rivals St Helens in a must win match at Central Park. Saints came into the game with a five point lead over Wigan in the table, but by the end of the night that was cut to three as Wigan won 35-19

Another fortnight later and former Wigan player Frano Botica almost dashed our title hopes. Now playing Castleford he had given them a 25-24 lead with not long to go at Central Park. But a late penalty from Andy Farrell gave us the two points. On the same weekend St Helens lost away to Bradford Bulls at Odsal. This left the title race in Wigan's destiny. Win all their remain games, the championship was theres!

But Wigan's next match was also a trip to Odsal and Bradford repeated what they had done to Saints. Wigan had taken a 10-0 lead very early on but despite being reduced to 12 men for 55 minutes, Bradford managed to recover from 10-0 down and win 20-12.

That result meant Wigan had to win all their remaining five matches and hope St Helens slipped up somewhere along the line. Wigan were winning their matches but so were Saints.

It went down to the final weekend of the season and amazingly the two sides last fixtures were played on different days. Wigan met Workington on the Saturday Night and recorded their biggest win of the season in winning 78-4.

This left Wigan hanging on to the hope that Warrington could upset St Helens two nights later on the Monday. It didn't happen, Saints crushed Warrington 66-14 to take the championship away from Central Park for the first time in seven years.

Wigan did gain some revenge by beating Saints 44-14 in the Premiership Final at Old Trafford but it was nothing more for than a token gesture.

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