What made this win for Wigan so special was not
only because it was in the Broncos back yard but also because
nobody expected a Wigan win.
Wigan were up against it! The Broncos had visited
Central Park the season before and convincingly defeated us 22-8.
Pre Match both first choice test props, Kelvin Skerrett and Andy
Platt had been ruled out injured. Weeks before the game coach John
Dorahy had been sacked despite leading us to a League and
Challenge Cup double. They also had to deal with an Australian
referee in Greg McCallum and a 54,000 strong Brisbane support!
Back then though, Wigan were not daunted by a
prospect like this and simply turned up and did what they did best
- play magnificent rugby.
So into the game they went under the leadership of
caretaker coach Graeme West.
The Brisbane side that day included two players
who would go on to play for Wigan later in their careers - Steve
Renouf and Julian O'Neill. The side also included big names like
Michael Hancock, Wendell Sailor, Alfie Langer, Glenn Lazarus and
Kerrod and Kevin Walters.
The Wigan side was full of all the big names from
that period including a much younger Gary Connolly, Mick Cassidy
and Andy Farrell, who all of course still play for the club day.
As the game got under way, it was imperative that
Wigan scored first and they did just that after 6 minutes.
A beautiful kick from Shaun Edwards dissected full
back Willie Carne and winger Wendell Sailor, they let it bounce
and it was touched down by Denis Betts. The try took some scoring.
Betts had to lean back to ground it but showed great confidence
and ability in doing so. Botica converted to make the score 6-0.
Wigan then opened up a 12-0 lead on 16 minutes.
Barrie Jon Mather did well to finish off a flowing left to right
This is how Channel 9 Australia's commentator Ray
Warren described the try: "This is Mather stepping through,
he's got support with Offiah, he runs away from Offiah and scores
"Big Mather, all six foot seven of him, treated
Martin Offiah with destain! He looked at him and said your joking
this (try) is mine!"
Phil Clarke sent Mather away, he beat Steve Renouf
and once the dummy pass to Offiah fooled Sailor, he was over.
Botica converted for an unbelievable 12-0 lead.
In the second quarter of the match it was all
Brisbane. But all they could show for their efforts was a 27th
minute try from Sailor. He burst down the wing to defeat Offiah
and score in the corner but the failed conversion meant Wigan had
a 2 score lead at the break - 12-4.
Defence was the key, as during the first half, Jason Robinson, Sam
Panapa, Offiah and Gary Connolly had all denied Brisbane with try
Probably the key moment that decided the game came
just three minutes into the second half. Michael Hancock knocked
on, Robinson picked up the ball and was away.
As Ray Warren described again: "Robinson
picks up the dregs. He runs for the line. Sailor to beat! Does
that! and puts it down!
Is (Robinson) having a game or what? He'll be
the mayor of Wigan!
Robinson did well to beat Sailor and in the end
this try proved to be the difference. Botica's conversion made it
18-4 and a comfortable Wigan victory looked on the cards.
But Brisbane had other ideas and came fighting
back. Hancock made up for his knock on with a try on 46 minutes.
Then Julian O'Neill scored on 59 minutes and at 18-14 the pendulum
of the game was swinging to Brisbane.
However this was a special Wigan side who had
great mental strength and a Herculean defensive effort and a 66th
minute penalty from Botica saw them bring the cup back home with a
20-14 win. A series of drop goal attempts were attempted by
At the final hooter the Wigan players rejoiced. If
you look back at the video, notice how knackered the players are
as they walk the steps to lift the trophy. They had put in so much
effort, Shaun Edwards had to take a breather at the top of the
steps before lifting the cup aloft!
Arguably this was the peak of our dominance in the
early 90s but as it turned out, this was just the beginning of us
achieving the immortal grand slam!
One thing is for certain, it was without doubt the
greatest moment in the history of Wigan Rugby League, if not the
greatest moment in British club Rugby League history.