1994 World Club Challenge
|1994World Club Challenge|
|Date||1 June 1994|
|Man of the Match||Shaun Edwards, Wigan|
The 1994 MMI World Club Challenge was a replay of the 1992 World Club Challenge, with 1993–94 Rugby Football League season champions Wigan facing the 1993 NSWRL season premiers, the Brisbane Broncos, this time in Australia. Wigan were clearly the dominant club in the English game, having won the previous four consecutive Rugby Football League Championships and Challenge Cup tournaments. The Broncos, having won consecutive premierships in 1992 and 1993 were the dominant team in the Australian game at the time. In the World Club Challenge, this time played unusually late in the year, Wigan were looking to get revenge for their loss against Brisbane in the previous encounter and got out to a strong first half lead. The English club then survived a second half come back from Brisbane to take the match, cementing their position as the world's dominant rugby league club of the period.
|Willie Carne||1. FB||Gary Connolly|
|Wendell Sailor||2. WG||Jason Robinson|
|Steve Renouf||3. CE||Sam Panapa|
|Chris Johns||4. CE||Barrie Jon-Mather|
|Michael Hancock||5. WG||Martin Offiah|
|Kevin Walters||6. FE||Frano Botica|
|Allan Langer (c)||7. HB||Shaun Edwards (c)|
|Glenn Lazarus||8. PR||Neil Cowie|
|Kerrod Walters||9. HK||Martin Dermott|
|Andrew Gee||10. PR||Billy McGinty|
|Mark Hohn||11. SR||Denis Betts|
|Alan Cann||12. SR||Andy Farrell|
|Julian O'Neill||13. LF||Phil Clarke|
|John Plath||14. Bench||Va'aiga Tuigamala|
|Peter Ryan||15. Bench||Martin Hall|
|Brett Galea||16. Bench||Mick Cassidy|
|Chris McKenna||17. Bench||Paul Atcheson|
|Wayne Bennett||Coach||Graeme West|
The match was played at Brisbane's ANZ Stadium on 1 June in the middle of the 1994 NSWRL season. A crowd of 54,220 (which as of 2014 remains the record attendance for a World Club Challenge) turned out for the game which was refereed by Greg McCallum. Wigan's chances didn't look good up against a star-studded Broncos side since both of their first choice test props, Kelvin Skerrett (broken jaw) and Andy Platt had been ruled out injured. In addition their coach, John Dorahy, had been sacked just weeks before so they went into the match under caretaker coach Graeme West.
The match was played under international rules which meant when a player was subbed off they could not return. Brisbane suffered early from this with the loss of Five-eighth Kevin Walters in the fifth minute with an ankle injury. Wigan then opened the scoring in the seventh minute, when Denis Betts pounced on a high ball from Shaun Edwards. The British champions added to this with another try in the sixteenth minute from Barrie Jon-Mather, bringing the unlikely score of 12 nil in favour of the visitors. In the twenty-seventh minute, Wendell Sailor opened the scoring for Brisbane when he beat Martin Offiah on the wing to put the ball down in the corner. The failed conversion meant a half-time lead for Wigan of 12 - 4.
Just three minutes into the second half a defining moment in the game took place when Michael Hancock knocked on and Jason Robinson picked up the ball and sped away, beating Sailor to score Wigan's third try. Frano Botica made it three from three with the boot when he kicked the extras, bringing the score to 18 - 4. Brisbane staged a comeback though, with Hancock making amends for his knock on with a try at the forty-six-minute mark and Julian O'Neill getting a try on fifty-nine minutes. Wigan's lead was brought back to four points, but their defence held the Broncos out for the remainder of the game. A sixty-sixth minute penalty by Botica meant a perfect night with the boot for him and a final score of 14 - 20.
|14 Brisbane||20 Wigan|
Julian O'Neill 1/3
Frano Botica 4/4
Wigan's captain Shaun Edwards was named man-of-the-match and his team had reclaimed the WCC trophy, going home with the $400,000 of prize money. With the Super League war looming, this was to be the last WCC match until the 1997 World Club Championship which included all Super League aligned clubs from the European competition and the Australasian Telstra Cup teams playing in a home and away type championship. It was also the last time the British and Australian champions faced off until the year 2000, and as of the 2013 World Club Challenge, this is also the last time the single game format has been played in Australia. The game returned Down Under in 2014, with Sydney Roosters hosting Wigan at Allianz Stadium.
During the game, Broncos second rower Alan Cann appeared to spear tackle Wigan's Martin Offiah. Cann escaped what should have been a lengthy suspension when the international judiciary declared he had no case to answer. It was later revealed that the judiciary members had inadvertently viewed the wrong video footage.
- 1994 World Club Challenge at wigan.rlfans.com
- 1994 World Club Challenge at superleague.co.uk
- de la Rivière, Richard (2005). "1994 Brisbane Broncos V Wigan, WCC". Thirteen. Retrieved 8 January 2014.
- "Wigan win World Club final". New Straits Times (Malaysia). 2 June 1994. p. 45. Retrieved 4 October 2010.
- 1994 World Club Challenge at rugbyleagueproject.com