They were responsible for one of the most celebrated success stories in Rugby League history and on Sunday the victorious Wigan team which defeated Manly in the first World Club Challenge will finally get the recognition they deserve.
Almost a quarter of a century after completing an epic 8-2 victory over Australian champions Manly Sea Eagles in front of a packed Central Park, the players who brought pride to the town of Wigan are to be presented with official medals that recognise their achievement.
Amid all the activity surrounding the 1987 World Club Challenge, no commemorative medals were issued but the RFL, Wigan Warriors and the Wigan RL Past Players’ Association have combined to put right that oversight.
The 1987 Wigan team will be special guests at Sunday’s PROBIZ World Club Challenge, Wigan Warriors v St George Illawarra Dragons at DW Stadium (7.15) when the likes of Ellery Hanley, Andy Gregory, Henderson Gill, Shaun Wane and Steve Hampson can expect a rousing reception.
“We’re delighted to be able to commission the medal to show the appreciation of the entire Rugby League community to Wigan’s 1987 World Club Challenge-winning side,” said Andy Hewitt, the RFL’s Director of Marketing and Communications.
“That game between Wigan and Manly was the catalyst behind the World Club Challenge becoming the major event it is now and the players who were involved deserve to be honoured for their achievement.
“The World Club Challenge has grown to become one of the most anticipated games of the Rugby League calendar and I’m sure everyone in attendance at the DW Stadium for the match between Wigan and St George Illawara will offer a warm welcome to some of Rugby League’s greatest ever players.”
Wigan Warriors Marketing Director Simon Collinson added: “It’s great that these legends will be honoured at the game against St George Illawara.
“The World Club Challenge win in 1987 sparked one of the greatest eras in Wigan’s history and it will be a tremendous honour for everyone involved with the club and for everyone in attendance on the day to welcome back some of the greatest players ever to represent the club.”
Wigan RL Past Players Association Secretary Ernie Benbow commented: “One of our aims is to help celebrate the club’s rich heritage and provide opportunities for past players to get together, so we were delighted to help re-unite the 87 team and were proud to support the purchase of these medals in recognition of such a great achievement.”
The players will be introduced to the crowd before the 2011 contest between Wigan and St George Illawara kicks-off and they will receive their medals from Wigan Chairman Ian Lenagan.
Tickets for the PROBIZ World Club Challenge at DW Stadium on Sunday February 27 (7.15pm) are in short supply and fans are advised to move quickly to secure their seat for this historic match.
Tickets are priced from just £20 (£10 concessions). A family ticket giving entry to two adults and two children and costing just £40 will be on sale until 5.00pm today (Wednesday). Tickets are available from the RFL Ticket Office on 0844 856 11 13, by visiting www.rugbyleaguetickets.co.uk and from the Wigan Warriors Ticket Office at DW Stadium in person or by calling 0871 66 33 552.