World Club Challenge: Wigan Warriors remain last club to win the Cup in Australia
We reflect on Wigan's famous victory over Brisbane Broncos in the '94 World Club Challenge.
Last Updated: 20/02/14 12:22pm
The packed crowd of 54,220 remains a record attendance for a World Club Challenge, a number that will not be surpassed in 2014 as Sydney Roosters' Allianz Stadium has a 45,000 capacity.
Few gave the English club a chance on Australian soil, even more so considering hard man Kelvin Skerrett was absent with a broken jaw while Andy Platt was also unavailable to stand-in head coach Graeme West.
West was only in caretaker charge after John Dorahy was sacked weeks before the game. However, the victory meant he landed the post on a permanent basis.
Wigan stamped their authority on the contest early on. Shaun Edwards' up-and-under caused problems for Wendell Sailor and Willie Carne's hesitation allowed Denis Betts to score under the posts after the ball bounced.
Things improved further for the tourists shortly afterwards, when the imposing figure of Barrie-Jon Mather cut inside Steve Renouf, resisted the chance to pick out Martin Offiah and beat stand-in full-back Sailor to the try line.
Sailor redeemed himself somewhat with a try before half-time, however, the defining moment of the game arrived minutes into the second.
Jason Robinson, in trademark fashion, seized upon Michael Hancock's knock on by swooping on the loose ball and in the blink of an eye he had crossed the whitewash.
The Broncos would not lie down. Hancock made amends for his earlier knock on by scoring Brisbane's second of the game before Julian O'Neill, who would later play for Wigan, scored again on 59 minutes.
Frano 'The Boot' Botica was perfect with a penalty in the 66th minute, making his fourth kick from four and that proved to be the end of the scoring as Wigan sealed a famous success.
Since 1994 the World Club Challenge has been played 14 times, of which all have been played in the UK, with nine wins for English clubs and six for Australian.
The size of the task facing Wigan on Saturday against the mighty Sydney Roosters could hardly be overestimated, but if they need any inspiration, they do not have far to look. The boys of '94 have become Wigan legends, can the class of 2014 match their incredible feat?
Phil Clarke's memories of 1994
We arrived without Kelvin Skerrett and Andy Platt, who were the foundations in the middle of the pitch, and the two toughest members of the squad.
They had given Wigan a fear factor in the UK, but without them it was now Wigan who were full of fear! I got the closest experience that I think I will ever get to how a Christian would have felt walking into the Roman Coliseum to face some angry Lions .
When we left the dressing room the entire Wigan team thought that we were going to get killed. A crowd of over 50 000 were laughing and booing in expectation of our demise. It was the most scared that I, and several of my team mates , have ever been in our careers.
When I think back 20 years and recall the tries that we scored to win in Brisbane I optimistically envisage that happening again.
One came from a speculative kick that had a lucky bounce, the other from a piece of opportunistic brilliance when Jason Robinson scored and the third was from an attacking move that Wigan put on from the half way line.
Last season Wigan scored more tries and made more breaks from their own half than any other team in Super League. It's what they do well, and have been able to do it against all of the teams in Super League even when they have known that it was going to happen. Will it still work against the best defenders in the NRL ?