Wigan Warriors legend Andy Gregory believes the club could spark a new era of dominance when they take to the field for the PROBIZ World Club Challenge against St George Illawara Dragons at DW Stadium on Sunday February 27 (7.15pm)
Gregory, who was part of Wigan’s historic first World Club Challenge winning team of 1987, played for the club during their most successful period of domination, when they won seven successive League titles and Challenge Cup titles between 1988 and 1995 and he feels the current Warriors side have all the attributes to restore the club’s former glory days.
“It’s a tremendous feeling to go out on the pitch in a World Club Challenge,” said Gregory. “To be crowned champions and play against the best is what every player wants to do, you want to test yourself against the best players in the world and this game gives you that opportunity,
“I was lucky enough to play in 1987 when Manly came over here and it was special. I didn’t realise it until we were walking down Wigan lane but there were fans from all the clubs in the league and when we went out to warm up the atmosphere was electric.
“When we walked out for the game I thought this is something special and it was, it was the best of British playing against the best of Australia.
“We went on to have a lot of success after that game and I think this side are talented enough to start a new era of success. If you have a look at the youth that’s coming through, there are some great local players like Sam Tomkins and the signings they have made will only make them stronger.
“This is a new era for Wigan. It started last season with the Super League and they have great strength in depth. It will be a tough game against St George Illawara and they will be taking it very serious, but I’ve seen the Wigan lads training and I know how dedicated they are to achieving more success.”
Gregory will be joined by his 1987 World Club Challenge team-mates when they are introduced to the crowd before the fixture on Sunday as special guests of honour and with legends such as Ellery Hanley and Henderson Gill in attendance, Gregory is looking forward to seeing his old friends.
“It’s going to be nice for me because I don’t see that many of the old players now,” said the former Great Britain scrum-half. “I’m looking forward to getting together and remembering the old times and looking ahead to the good times that lie ahead for this Wigan team.
“Our game against Manly was tough, but that’s how Rugby League is. Everyone gave their all that day and we were fortunate to come out on top and that’s something that I’ll treasure forever.
“After the game it sunk in that we were World Champions and as an individual and as a team we knew that if we could beat the best in Australia, then we could beat any team in front of us. I was also lucky enough to captain the side when we won in 91 against Penrith and to pick an honour like that up as captain of my home town club was very special.
“The Wigan players now know that they have to put their bodies on the line because they want to be World Champions and they want to win everything and I think they have the squad to do that this year.”
Tickets for the PROBIZ World Club Challenge at DW Stadium on Sunday February 27 (7.15pm) are available from just £20 (£10 concessions). A family ticket giving entry to two adults and two children costs just £40. 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 in person or by calling 0871 66 33 552.