|1996 Wigan RLFC season|
|Super League I Rank||2nd|
|Play-off result||Won Premiership Final|
|Challenge Cup||5th round|
|1996 record||Wins: 19; Draws: 1; Losses: 2|
|Points scored||For: 902; Against: 326|
|Head Coach||Graeme West|
The 1996 Wigan season was the 101st season in the club's rugby league history and the first season in the newly formed Super League. Coached by Graeme West and captained by Shaun Edwards, Wigan competed in Super League I and finished in 2nd place, but went on to win the Premiership Final at Old Trafford against St. Helens. The club also competed in the 1996 Challenge Cup, but were knocked out in the fifth round by First Division side Salford Reds, and was the first time the club had failed to win the trophy since 1987.
In July 1996 Farrell was appointed Wigan's captain.
The 1995–96 season was a shortened transitional season ahead of the switch to the Super League, which would see the league become a summer competition. Wigan won the league championship for the seventh consecutive season, and also won the final staging of the League Cup, defeating St Helens 25–16. Wigan's dominance was expected to continue in the summer era, and the club were odds-on favourites to win the inaugural Super League.
|30 March 1996||Oldham Bears||Away||56–16||Connolly (3), Edwards (2), Offiah (2), Radlinski (2), Hall, Paul||Farrell (8)||7,709|
|5 April 1996||St. Helens||Away||26–41||Hall (2), O'Connor, Smyth, Tuigamala||Paul (3)||15,883|
|8 April 1996||Warrington||Home||42–12||Edwards (2), Haughton, A. Johnson, Paul, Radlinski, Smyth,||Farrell (6), Paul||14,620|
|14 April 1996||Castleford Tigers||Away||28–10||Connolly, Farrell, Paul, Robinson, Smyth||Farrell (4)||7,985|
|19 April 1996||Bradford Bulls||Home||22–6||Craig, Haughton, Murdock, Paul||Farrell (3)||9,872|
|5 May 1996||Paris Saint-Germain||Home||76–8||Paul (3), Smyth (3), Connolly (2), Haughton (2), Cassidy, Farrell, Murdock, Radlinski||Paul (6), Farrell (4)||10,675|
|14 May 1996||Halifax Blue Sox||Away||50–4||Robinson (2), Smyth (2), Cassidy, Connolly, Edwards, Haughton, Murdock||Farrell (5), Hall (2)||5,269|
|18 May 1996||Workington Town||Away||64–16||Farrell (2), Robinson (2), Tuigamala (2), Craig, Edwards, Hall, Murdock, Offiah||Farrell (8), Paul, Tuigamala||3,176|
|29 May 1996||Sheffield Eagles||Home||50–6||Offiah (3), Cassidy, Connolly, Hall, A.Johnson, Paul, Smyth||Farrell (7)||9,158|
|1 June 1996||Leeds||Away||40–20||Smyth (2), Murdock, Offiah, Paul, Robinson||Farrell (8)||9,508|
|9 June 1996||London Broncos||Home||18–18||Murdock, Robinson, Tuigamala||Farrell (3)||9,189|
|16 June 1996||Oldham Bears||Home||44–16||Robinson (3), Smyth (2), Connolly, Ellison, Haughton, Quinnell||Farrell (2), Edwards, Hall||7,226|
|21 June 1996||St. Helens||Home||35–19||Robinson (2), Haughton, Murdock, Smyth, Tuigamala||Paul (3), Hall (2), Robinson (DG)||20,429|
|30 June 1996||Warrington||Away||21–0||Paul (2), Smyth (2)||Connolly (2), Wright (DG)||8,103|
|5 July 1996||Castleford Tigers||Home||26–25||Robinson (2), A. Johnson, Tuigamala||Farrell (5)||8,180|
|12 July 1996||Bradford Bulls||Away||12–20||Ellison, Paul||Farrell (2)||17,360|
|20 July 1996||Paris Saint-Germain||Away||24–20||A. Johnson, Radlinski, Robinson, Tuigamala||Farrell (4)||5,428|
|26 July 1996||Halifax Blue Sox||Home||34–26||Connolly, Ellison, Murdock, Paul, Radlinski, Tuigamala||Farrell (5)||8,221|
|3 August 1996||Sheffield Eagles||Away||54–12||Paul (2), Connolly, Edwards, Ellison, Hall, Haughton, Murdock, Robinson||Farrell (9)||5,103|
|9 August 1996||Leeds||Home||68–14||Robinson (5), Connolly (2), Edwards (2), Cowie, Murdock, Radlinski, Tuigamala||Farrell (8)||7,814|
|17 August 1996||London Broncos||Away||34–13||Paul (2), Edwards, A. Johnson, Robinson, Tuigamala||Farrell (5)||10,014|
|24 August 1996||Workington Town||Home||78–4||Barrow (3), Paul (3), Edwards (2), Haughton (2), Robinson (2), Ellison, Farrell||Farrell (9), Tuigamala (2)||6,466|
|Semi Final||31 August 1996||Bradford Bulls||Home||42–36||Edwards (4), Ellison (2), Paul, Radlinski||Farrell (5)||9,878||MR|
|Final||8 September 1996||St. Helens||Neutral||44–14||Ellison (3), Connolly, Edwards, Haughton, Murdock, Paul, Robinson||Farrell (4)||35,013||MR|
Wigan's fourth round Challenge Cup tie against Second Division side Bramley took place a week after the end of the previous season. Wigan progressed to the next round with a comfortable 74–12 win, and drew Salford Reds in the next round. Wigan lost 16–26 against their First Division opponents, ending the club's unbeaten run of 43 games in the competition, and was the first time they had been knocked out of the Challenge Cup since being defeated by Oldham in February 1987.The result is considered one of the biggest upsets in the history of the competition.
|Fourth||28 January 1996||Bramley||Home||74–12||Offiah (4), Farrell (2), Quinnell (2), Radlinski (2), Connolly, Cowie, Robinson, Tuigamala||Hall (5), Paul (4)||4,627||MR|
|Fifth||11 February 1996||Salford Reds||Away||16–26||Tuigamala (2), Offiah||Farrell, Paul||10,048||MR|
In addition to their league and cup exploits, Wigan took part in a special two-game series against Bath, the reigning champions of rugby union's Courage League, with one game being played under the rules of each code. Wigan won the game played under league rules at Maine Road 82-6,but lost the union game at Twickenham by 44-19.
|League||8 May 1996||Bath||Neutral||82–6||Offiah (6), Robinson (2), O'Connor (2), Johnson (2), Paul, Cassidy, Quinnell, Murdock||Hall (5), Farrell (4)||20,148||MR|
|Union||25 May 1996||Bath||Neutral||19–44||Murdock (2), Tuigamala||Farrell (2)||42,000||MR|
|Stuart Lester||Fullback||Auckland Warriors||August 1996|
|Stephen Holgate||Second-row||Workington Town||£100,000||December 1996|
|Ian Sherratt||Prop forward||Oldham Bears||£30,000||December 1996|
|Doc Murray||Fullback||Auckland Warriors||December 1996|
|Scott Quinnell||Second-row||Richmond (RU)||£250,000||June 1996|
|Shem Tatupu||Prop forward||Northampton Saints (RU)||£80,000||July 1996|
|Martin Offiah||Winger||London Broncos||£300,000||August 1996|
|Martin Dermott||Hooker||Warrington Wolves||September 1996|
|Andy Craig||Centre||Swinton Lions||December 1996|
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