1987 World Club Challenge

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1987 (1987) Foster's World Club Challenge  ()
1 2 Total
WIG Wigancolours.svg 4 4 8
MAN Manly Sea Eagles colours.svg 2 0 2
Date 7 October 1987
Stadium Central Park[1]
Location Wigan, England
Referee John Holdsworth
Attendance 36,895
Broadcast partner
Commentators Graham Eadie, David Fordham
 < 1976

The 1987 World Club Challenge (also known as the 1987 Foster's World Club Challenge due to sponsorship by brewers, Foster's) was only the second game of its kind to be played between Britain's and Australia's respective domestic rugby league champions. Maurice Lindsay chairman of 1986–87 Rugby Football League season champions Wigan, invited 1987 NSWRL season premiers, the Manly-Warringah Sea Eagles to England for the game.[2] After this memorable match, the World Club Challenge was decided to be made an official annual feature on the rugby league calendar.

Match details[edit]

Wigancolours.svg Wigan Position Manly-Warringah Manly Sea Eagles colours.svg
Steve Hampson Fullback Dale Shearer
Richard Russell Wing David Ronson
David Stephenson Centre Darrell Williams
Joe Lydon Centre Michael O'Connor
Henderson Gill Wing Stuart Davies
Shaun Edwards Stand-off Cliff Lyons
Andy Gregory Scrum-half Des Hasler
Brian Case Prop Phil Daley
Nicky Kiss Hooker Mal Cochrane
Shaun Wane Prop Ian Gately
Andy Goodway Second-row Ron Gibbs
Ian Potter Second-row Owen Cunningham
Ellery Hanley (c) Loose forward Paul Vautin (c)
Ian Lucas Bench Paul Shaw
Ged Byrne Bench Jeremy Ticehurst
Graeme West Bench Mark Brokenshire
Ian Gildart Bench Mark Pocock
Graham Lowe Coach Bob Fulton

The match was played at 7:45pm on a dry Wednesday night, the 7th of October at the Central Park ground in Wigan. A crowd of 36,895[3] was in attendance for the game, though unofficial estimates from those present put the attendance as high as 50,000. The game was refereed by RFL referee John Holdsworth. Former four-time Manly premiership winning Fullback Graham Eadie, who at the time was playing in England with 1987 Challenge Cup winners Halifax, was on hand as a match commentator.

No tries were scored in what was a closely fought and, at times, spiteful encounter. Michael O'Connor opened the scoring for Manly with a successful penalty kick in only the second minute, which would turn out to be the only time the Sea Eagles scored. Tempers flared as the match went on, punctuated by more penalties and a few unsavoury incidents:

  • Manly forward Ron Gibbs became the first person to be sent off in a World Club Challenge match for illegal use of the elbow when taking out Joe Lydon high after he attempted a drop-goal;
  • An all-in brawl erupted after Dale Shearer was lifted in a tackle then started a punch-up in the ruck with Brian Case;
  • After taking Manly captain Paul Vautin over the touchline, a group of Wigan defenders went on to take him over the fence causing another all-in brawl;
  • Later, when Shearer brought down Lydon in defence, he appeared to step on the Great Britain international's head as he got up after making the tackle.

Amongst all of these incidents Wigan's David Stephenson kicked four penalty goals, which in the end would prove decisive. The score was 8 - 2 in favour of the home side as the final whistle blew,[4] prompting the overjoyed Wigan supporters to flood onto the field to celebrate with the players.

Wigan 8 Manly-Warringah 2
Goals (4):
David Stephenson
Goals (1):
Michael O'Connor


  1. ^ "Wigan move quickly to set up showpeice with Maroons", The Sydney Morning Herald (31 December 1988)
  2. ^ Wilson, Andy (3 October 2010). "Wigan prepare to slay Dragons after crushing St Helens in Grand Final". guardian.co.uk. Retrieved 24 July 2011. 
  3. ^ AAP (25 January 2001) "World Club Championship Factbox" AAP Sports News (Australia)
  4. ^ Wilson, Zack (24 February 2011). "Wigan heroes of 1987 to parade before PROBIZ World Club Challenge". code13rugbyleague.com (UK: Code13 Sports Media). Retrieved 26 February 2011. 

External links[edit]