This was perhaps the start of the long period of success
that was to follow for Wigan. Just three years after relegation to the Old
Divison 2, this match announced our return to the top. Numerous Challenge
Cup appearances, league titles and other successes were to follow.
Maurice Lindsay, who was the head of a new board that
took over the club in 1982 said after this game "let's hope this is the
start of something big". Don't think anyone that day would have predicted
what was to come for Wigan.
Alex Murphy was our coach ay the time. He had been
appointed during the previous off season and immediately brought success
with this win.
Both sides were having decent league seasons. At the time
of the final Leeds were second and Wigan fourth in the table.
The match was played at Elland Road, so arguably it was a
home match for Leeds but the Wigan fans came out in great numbers. Captain
Colin Whitfield said "our fans were magic" and that it was them that
"lifted" them to victory.
The first half of the match was pretty dull and included
the very rare scoreline of 1-0 when Whitfield kicked a drop goal for Wigan
after just seven minutes.
Leeds hit back with two penalties from scrum half Kevin
Dick before a penalty from Whitfield made it 3-4 to Leeds at the break.
Again not really a inspired start to the second half.
Leeds did go mightily close to increasing their lead however but Les Dyl was
on his back over the line.
The game came to life on 57 minutes and it was Henderson
Gill, the man who would go on to light up the 1985 Challenge Cup Final, who
sent Wigan on the road to success.
David Stephenson sent Gill racing away down the wing and
he beat three defenders to score in the corner. He just managed to squeeze
over for the try. It was a brave effort in which he injured himself. He was
immediately substituted as Whitfield's conversion made it 8-4.
Note it was still three points for a try. The four points
rule only came into force after this season had ended. Another Whitfield
penalty made it 10-4 on 64 minutes.
The game was still in the balance but it was Wigan who
finished strongest. Dennis Ramsdale, Brian Case and Danny Campbell all went
close to sealing it. Eventually we managed to do so. Mick Scott broke
through to send substitute Brian Juliff, who had replaced previous try
scorer Gill, underneath the posts to win the game in the 75th minute.
Andy Farrell was not the first Wigan captain to play
against Leeds with a broken nose as captain Whitfield played most of this
match with the same injury. Perhaps his contribution with the boot was the
key to this victory?