Saturday 20 January 2018 / 08:21 PM

WIND-BACK WEDNESDAY: KENNY AND STERLING LIGHT UP WEMBLEY

Last week it was announced Super League clubs Wigan Warriors and Hull FC will play for the Kenny Sterling shield when they square off in a historic match at Wollongong’s WIN Stadium on February 10.

Wind-back Wednesday revisits exactly why long-time scrum-base pairing and Parramatta legends Brett Kenny and Peter Sterling hold such an esteemed place in the history of the famous English teams’ rivalry.

The 1985 Challenge Cup final at Wembley between Wigan and Hull is the most fable in the knockout competition’s glittering history, with a clutch of Australian and New Zealand stars setting the hallowed turf alight.

Kenny was Wigan’s superstar import, while Eels partner-in-crime Sterling was the linchpin for Hull.

Adding to the Down Under influence, Kiwi Graeme West captained a Wigan side that also included cult hero winger John ‘Chicka’ Ferguson, who was then with Eastern Suburbs. Among the cherry-and-whites’ home-grown stars were Shaun Edwards, Henderson Gill and Mike Ford.

Hull featured former Kangaroos second-rower John Muggleton, and Kiwi quartet Fred Ah Kuoi, Gary Kemble, Dane O’Hara and James Leuluai. Skilful Great Britain forward Lee Crooks was the captain and a young Garry Schofield came off the bench.

The English giants produced one of the greatest rugby league matches ever witnessed, but the Australian guns were the unmistakable stars.

Kenny and Sterling duelled brilliantly, while Ferguson bagged a sensational double in Wigan’s 28-24 triumph in front of 97,801 supporters. But tries by Gill and Leuluai also contributed to its status as the finest final of all time.

Kenny became the first Australian to win the coveted Lance Todd trophy as man-of-the-match, scoring a dazzling solo try and laying on two more courtesy of his footwork and sleight of hand.

[YouTube – Super League TV]

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About the author

Will Evans

CBS’s Editor-in-Chief and lead rugby league, union and cricket writer, Will is a Christchurch-based freelancer, also writing for Big League and Rugby League Review magazines, and The New Daily website. Will has written four rugby league books.

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