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
apperances, 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. Wigan went on to finish
this season 3rd behind both Hull clubs and just above St Helens, whilst
Leeds finished 6th.
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.
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
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?