Where Wigan Warriors’ incredible win streak ranks in Super League history

Ben Olawumi
Wigan Warriors, Bevan French

Wigan Warriors celebrate Bevan French's try in their Round 5 win at Salford Red Devils

By Matt Peet’s own admission, Wigan Warriors ‘weren’t at their best’ against Salford Red Devils, but having got the job done with a 22-12 victory, they’ve kept the possibility of achieving another record alive.

Coming courtesy of late tries from Jake Wardle & Bevan French, with the first of those gift-wrapped following an ill-judged short drop-out from Salford’s Marc Sneyd, last night’s win was Wigan Warriors’ 15th consecutive in Super League.

That of course extends back to last season and includes their two play-off games in 2023 – the semi-final against Hull KR at the DW Stadium and the Grand Final against Catalans Dragons at Old Trafford.

There won’t have been many closer-run affairs during their continued success than last night, but with the Warriors coming out on top yet again, it got us thinking… how does this run compare to anything we’ve seen before in the Super League era?

Where Wigan Warriors’ incredible win streak ranks in Super League history

5. St Helens (12 games – 1996)

St Helens 1996
St Helens celebrate winning the Super League title in 1996

In Super League’s inaugural season, Saints – headed up by Shaun McRae – would win 20 of their 22 games, including the first 12.

Starting and ending with victories against Workington Town, Wigan would be the team to end that run when they won 35-19 at Central Park in Round 13 towards the end of June.

The Warriors would go on to beat Saints in the then-known Premiership final at Old Trafford in the September, but by then, Saints had been crowned the first Super League champions having topped the table – this was before the League Leaders’ Shield, of course.

= St Helens (12 games – 2006)

Skip forward a decade and Daniel Anderson’s Saints would repeat the same feat, winning 12 Super League games on the spin to start the season.

That run kickstarted with a heavy 40-16 victory away at Harlequins in Round 1, and ended with a 34-8 win against then-Wakefield Trinity Wildcats at Knowsley Road. Huddersfield Giants were the team to beat Anderson’s side, 19-16 victors on home soil at the start of May.

2006 would end with a Grand Final triumph over Hull FC for the Red V having lifted the League Leaders’ Shield a couple of weeks prior, losing only four Super League games all year.

= Castleford Tigers (12 games – 2017)

Castleford Tigers 2017
Castleford Tigers lift the League Leaders’ Shield in 2017

Inspired by Man of Steel Luke Gale, Castleford were the side to top the table in 2017, doing so having won 12 Super League games in a row between the end of April and late July.

Beaten narrowly by Hull FC the week prior, Daryl Powell’s Tigers would thump Wigan 54-4 in Round 12 and go on to win every game up to and including Round 23 when they beat Catalans Dragons 32-24 over in Perpignan having trailed at the break.

Saints would end the winning run at the Jungle 12 days later as the Super 8’s kicked off, and the year would end in heartbreak for Cas as they were well beaten in the Grand Final by Leeds Rhinos.

= St Helens (12 games – 2018)

Three Saints sides have won 12 Super League games in a row in total to date, with 2018 – under the tutelage of Justin Holbrook – the most recent time that’s happened.

Losing out by four points at Wakefield Trinity, Saints responded in style come Round 12 with a dominant 66-4 win at home against Huddersfield, that on April 20. Every Super League game from then until July 26 was won, when they pipped Warrington Wolves in a 14-12 win, coming from 8-0 down at half-time.

After a Challenge Cup semi-final defeat to Catalans, Huddersfield would be the one’s to end Saints’ Super League streak, beating Holbrook’s side 16-12 at the Totally Wicked Stadium as the Super 8’s began. The Red V would eventually lose out in the play-off semi-finals to Warrington.

= Catalans Dragons (12 games – 2021)

Catalans Dragons 2021
Catalans Dragons seal the League Leaders’ Shield with their dramatic comeback victory against St Helens at Magic Weekend in 2021

Steve McNamara’s Catalans beat Saints to the League Leaders’ Shield in 2021 in a year which saw them lose only four of the 19 Super League games they managed to play with COVID still impacting the game.

The Dragons won 12 of those 19 in a row between the end of April and beginning of August, starting with a victory at Wakefield and ending with one at Hull KR.

Saints would be the team to end the run, beating the French side on home soil five days later, and would go on to pip them to glory at Old Trafford in the Grand Final too.

4. Leeds Rhinos (13 games – 2000)

Onto the sides who have won 13 Super League games in a row, the first of those being Leeds back in 2000, the fifth season of Super League.

With Australian Dean Lance at the helm, the Rhinos went on an incredible run between the end of May and mid-August that season, absolutely staggering considering they only won four other games either side of that.  The run began with a win at home against Wigan and ended with one against the then-known Huddersfield-Sheffield Giants.

Castleford beat Leeds at the Jungle the following week to halt Lance’s side’s progress. Finishing 4th, level on points with the Tigers in 5th, the Rhinos would beat Cas in the play-offs before falling to Bradford Bulls in the ‘elimination semi-final’.

= Bradford Bulls (13 games – 2005/2006)

Lesley Vainikolo, Shontyne Hape, Leon Pryce
Bradford Bulls’ Lesley Vainikolo (left), Shontyne Hape (middle) & Leon Pryce celebrate their 2005 Grand Final win against Leeds Rhinos

Bradford are another club who have a 13-Super League game winning streak to their name, straddling the end of the 2005 season and beginning of the following campaign.

In mid-July of 2005, Brian Noble’s Bulls swept aside basement club Leigh, then-Centurions at Odsal in Round 21. They’d then win every game up to and including the Grand Final against Leeds that year to be crowned Super League champions for the fourth – and to date final – time.

Come February 2006, having been crowned World Club champions, Noble’s side would kick off the new season with a win at Wakefield to make it 13 in a row, but went on to draw 18-18 with Harlequins six days later to bring an end to the run. For reference, the Bulls didn’t lose a game until Round 6 at St Helens, eventually beaten by Hull FC in the play-offs that year.

= Hull FC (13 games – 2006)

And that exact FC side – which would go on to be beaten in the 2006 Grand Final by Saints – feature in this list having also won 13 Super League games in a row.

The Black and Whites’ impressive run began on April 14 at Huddersfield, and ended on July 15 in Round 21 at home against Warrington Wolves, when they had six different try-scorers in a 36-24 triumph.

Harlequins’ 18-16 win in the capital the following week stopped Hull in their tracks, but Peter Sharp’s side gave it a good go in trying to keep the run alive, fighting back from 18-2 down at the break but just not having enough.

3. Wigan Warriors (15 games* – 2023/2024)

Wigan Warriors
Wigan Warriors players celebrate the Round 5 victory against Salford Red Devils, their 15th consecutive Super League win

Champion sides win when they’re not at the races, and that’s exactly what Wigan did last night at Salford to keep their run going and extend it out to 15 games. It felt a bit like when the Undertaker beat Shawn Michaels at WrestleMania XXVI. Those who know, know!

Anyhow, Matt Peet’s side’s winning run began last July when they beat Warrington at the DW. The week after that, they were knocked out of the Challenge Cup in the semi-finals by Hull KR, but that doesn’t count towards this run.

Having bounced back with victory at home to neighbours Leigh Leopards to end the month, they’d win every remaining game in 2023 – including the Grand Final – and have kicked 2024 off with four Super League wins to begin the campaign, including the most recent against Salford. We’re sure they’ll be eyeing up the record too…

2. St Helens (16 games – 2008)

There’s a break for the Challenge Cup next week, but when Super League returns on Good Friday, Wigan will have a chance to equal the winning streak of the 2008 Saints side against their bitter rivals.

16 years ago, in Anderson’s final year in charge of the Red V, they won 16 in a row between mid-April and late August, starting with a victory against Harlequins at Knowsley Road and ending with one away against Huddersfield in Round 26.

With two wins against Wigan in that 16-game streak, Saints – who had won the Challenge Cup final against Hull a few days earlier – would have their run ended by their Cherry & White rivals in a 16-16 draw which rounded off the regular season.

Anderson’s men still lifted the League Leaders’ Shield with that point, but would be beaten in the Grand Final by the team who finished 2nd in Leeds.

1. Bradford Bulls (21 games – 1996/1997)

Bradford Bulls 1997
Bradford Bulls players pose with the Super League trophy in 1997 after victory against Paris Saint-Germain at Odsal

If Wigan are to set a new record of consecutive wins, they’ll have to reach 22 on the spin because – across the back end of the 1996 campaign and beginning of the 1997 season – Bradford have 21 to their name. The Warriors would have to win every league game up to and including their Round 11 clash with Huddersfield in May to even equal it.

Under Brian Smith, Bradford’s unprecedented streak began in their final game of the inaugural Super League season with victory away against Paris Saint-Germain. Note, the Bulls actually lost in the Premiership play-offs to Wigan that year, but at that time, the games which took place at the end of a season were considered a different competition, so that doesn’t count.

With that aside, Bradford – with Matthew Elliott at the helm – then won their first 20 Super League games in 1997, beginning in mid-March with a win against Warrington at Odsal and ending in mid-August with one on home soil against – coincidentally – PSG.

The Bulls had the title wrapped up by then, crowned champions of Super League for the first time, and actually lost their last two league games – against Wigan & 2nd-placed London – to bring an end to the streak before also losing out to Castleford in the Premiership play-offs. Strange looking back now, we know, but 21 games straight won is a feat we may well never see repeated.