As Wigan and Brisbane prepare to do battle in the World Club Series this weekend, Flashback Friday tracks the intriguing rivalry the two rugby league powerhouses have crafted over the past 24 years.
1992 World Sevens Final
The Brisbane-Wigan rivalry began on the unorthodox stage of Sevens football, with the high-profile clubs squaring off in the final of the inaugural World Sevens at a rain-soaked Sydney Football Stadium. The cherry-and-whites prevailed 18-4, with superstar winger Martin Offiah bagging four tries.
1992 World Club Challenge
The Broncos became the first Australian side to win a World Club Challenge in England with an emphatic 14-point victory over the powerful Wigan side, five weeks after claiming their first premiership via a 28-8 Grand Final thrashing of St. George. Featuring six players from Australia’s 10-6 defeat of Great Britain at Wembley a week earlier, the Broncos scored four tries to one in a fiery clash marked by several wild brawls. Test winger Michael Hancock crossed for a double, while fullback Julian O’Neill and hooker Kerrod Walters also notched tries for the victors.
1994 World Club Challenge
A 54,220-strong crowd packed Brisbane’s ANZ Stadium during the 1994 Australian winter to see two-time premiers the Broncos host Wigan, the English champions of the previous five seasons. Wigan raced to an 18-4 lead on the back of an opportunist try to backrower Dennis Betts, a 50-metre effort by centre Barrie-Jon Mather and a blistering four-pointer to winger Jason Robinson, before holding off a late Broncos comeback to prevail 20-14.
1997 World Club Challenge
The stark contrast in quality between the Australian and British clubs in the ill-fated Super League World Club Challenge tournament was emphasised by the heavyweight Broncos’ dismantling of English figureheads Wigan. With on 14,833 in attendance at ANZ Stadium, the Broncos routed the Warriors 34-0 with Darren Lockyer racking up 18 points in a match most remembered for Gorden Tallis using Wigan prop Terry O’Connor as a punching bag.
The result was equally convincing during Brisbane’s English leg of the WCC, whipping Wigan 30-4 at Central Park – despite Glenn Lazarus being stretchered off with a season-ending knee injury and Michael DeVere and Ben Walker each spending 10 minutes in the sin-bin.
2015 World Club Series
Wayne Bennett’s second coming as Brisbane coach began with a tense 14-12 win over Wigan at DW Stadium in the inaugural edition of the World Club Series. The match had a bizarre finish as eccentric Warrior Anthony Gelling was sin-binned for charging down a Corey Parker penalty goal attempt on fulltime. Parker landed the second attempt to clinch a last-gasp win.