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 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 FullbackGraham 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, prompting the overjoyed Wigan supporters to flood onto the field to celebrate with the players.