Home of Rugby League
|Full name||Central Park|
|Record attendance||47,747 vs St Helens 27 March 1959|
|Wigan RLFC (1902–1999)|
Central Park was a rugby league stadium in Wigan, England, which was the home of Wigan RLFC before the club moved to the JJB Stadium in 1999. Its final capacity was 18,000. The site is now a Tesco supermarket car park.
On 6 September 1902, Wigan played at Central Park for the first time in the opening match of the newly formed First Division. An estimated crowd of 9,000 spectators saw Wigan beat Batley 14–8.
The first rugby league international was played between England and Other Nationalities at Central Park on 5 April 1904, Other Nationalities won 9-3 in the experimental Loose forward-less 12-a-side game, with Wigan players David "Dai" Harris, and Eli Davies in the Other Nationalities team.
The visit of St. Helens on 27 March 1959 produced Central Park's record attendance of 47,747, and set a record for a rugby league regular season league game in Britain. Wigan won the game 19–14, holding off a Saints' comeback after having led 14–0.
Floodlights were installed on 120 ft high pylons in summer 1967 so that the club could play in the BBC2 Floodlit Trophy.
On 7 October 1987, Central Park was the first English venue used for the World Club Challenge (WCC) between the English champions and the Winfield Cup premiers from Australia. The 1987 World Club Challenge between Wigan and Manly-Warringah saw the home side run out 8-2 winners in a try-less game in front of 36,895, though many who were there believe the attendance was closer to 50,000 on the night, far exceeding the 36,000 capacity of the ground at the time. The game was marred by several all-in brawls, while Manly captain Paul Vautin was almost pushed over the fence and into the crowd by a group of Wigan players who had tackled him into touch, the incident sparking another all-in. Manly fullback Dale Shearer and second-rower Ron Gibbs were the main villains of the parochial Wigan crowd. Gibbs became the first player to be sent off in a WCC after hitting Wigan centre Joe Lydon with an elbow to the head after Lydon attempted a field goal, while later in the game Shearer appeared to step on the head of Lydon while getting up from a tackle.
Despite the ugly on-field play, the success of the match and its high attendance saw the World Club Challenge made into an annual event between the English and Australian champions starting in 1989.
A week after the 1992 Rugby League World Cup Final (WCF) at Wembley Stadium which saw Australia defeat Great Britain 10-6, Central Park hosted the 1992 World Club Challenge between Wigan and the Brisbane Broncos. With twelve players who played in the WCF playing the challenge (5 from Wigan, 7 from Brisbane), the Broncos became the first Australian side to win the challenge in England with a 22-8 victory in front of 17,764 fans. Wigan would get their revenge just two years later when they defeated the Broncos 20-14 in the 1994 World Club Challenge played in front of a WCC record attendance of 54,220 at the ANZ Stadium in Brisbane. Showing the loyalty of the club's fans, several thousand travelled to Brisbane to support the team, the win seeing Wigan become the first English team to win the Challenge on Australian soil.
In January 1997 the club's shareholders approved a deal in which the stadium would be sold to Wigan Athletic's owner Dave Whelan and be redeveloped to provide a new home for both the football and rugby teams. Two months later however, the Warriors' chairman Jack Robinson accepted a rival bid from Tesco, pointing out that the supermarket's offer was three times bigger than Whelan's.
The final game at Central Park was on Sunday 5 September 1999. Wigan beat St Helens by 28 points to 20, 96 years and 364 days after the first game against Batley was played. The Central Park site later became a car park for a Tesco supermarket.
List of rugby league test matches played at Central Park.
|1||5 April 1904|| Other Nationalities def. ||6,000|
|2||1 January 1906||8,000|
|3||7 February 1923||12,000|
|4||30 September 1925||12,000|
|5||2 October 1926||14,500||1926–27 England vs New Zealand series|
|6||11 January 1928||12,000|
|7||27 February 1943||17,000|
|8||26 February 1944||16,028|
|9||10 March 1945||23,500|
|10||20 September 1947||27,000||1947–48 European Rugby League Championship|
|11||22 September 1948||12,638||1948–49 European Rugby League Championship|
|12||1 March 1950||27,500||1949–50 European Rugby League Championship|
|13||11 April 1951|| Other Nationalities def. ||17,000||1950–51 European Rugby League Championship|
|14||23 April 1952||20,000||1951–52 European Rugby League Championship|
|15||17 September 1952||13,503||1952–53 European Rugby League Championship|
|16||28 November 1953||19,000||1953–54 European Rugby League Championship|
|17||12 September 1955||18,234||1955–56 European Rugby League Championship|
|18||17 November 1956||22,473||1956 Ashes series|
|19||23 November 1957||19,152|
|20||12 December 1959||26,089||1959 Ashes series|
|21||24 September 1960||20,278||1960 Rugby League World Cup|
|22||8 October 1960||2,876|
|23||17 February 1962||17,277|
|24||3 April 1963||19,487|
|25||6 November 1965||7,919||1965 Great Britain vs New Zealand series|
|26||5 March 1966||14,004|
|27||4 March 1967||7,448|
|28||25 October 1969||4,568||1969–70 European Rugby League Championship|
|29||21 October 1970||9,805||1970 Rugby League World Cup group stage|
|30||17 February 1974||9,108|
|31||1 November 1975||9,393||1975 Rugby League World Cup|
|32||21 October 1978||17,644||1978 Ashes series|
|33||18 October 1980||7,031||1980 Great Britain vs New Zealand series|
|34||20 November 1982||23,126||1982 Ashes series|
|35||2 November 1985||15,506||1985 Great Britain vs New Zealand series|
|36||1 March 1986||8,112|
|37||22 November 1986||20,169|| 1986 Ashes series |
1985–1988 Rugby League World Cup
|38||24 October 1987||9,121||1985–1988 Rugby League World Cup|
|39||21 January 1989||8,266|
|40||11 November 1989||20,346|| 1989 Great Britain vs New Zealand series |
1989–1992 Rugby League World Cup
|41||9 November 1991||4,193||1989–1992 Rugby League World Cup|
|42||30 October 1993||16,502||1993 Great Britain vs New Zealand series|
|43||11 October 1995||26,263||1995 Rugby League World Cup Group A|
Other than Wigan club games and test matches, Central Park was also a regular host to various international touring teams from 1907–1994.
|1||9 November 1907||30,000||1907–08 All Golds tour|
|2||11 January 1908||12,000|
|3||25 November 1908||4,000||1908–09 Kangaroo Tour|
|4||9 January 1909||4,000|
|5||20 January 1909||9,100|
|6||28 October 1911||25,000||1911–12 Kangaroo Tour|
|7||31 January 1912||2,000|
|8||15 October 1921||24,308||1921–22 Kangaroo Tour|
|9||3 December 1929||9,987||1929–30 Kangaroo Tour|
|10||28 December 1929||8,000|
|11||23 September 1933||15,712||1933–34 Kangaroo Tour|
|12||6 March 1934||8,000||1934 French rugby league tour|
|13||3 November 1937||9,800||1937–38 Kangaroo Tour|
|14||20 October 1948||28,554||1948–49 Kangaroo Tour|
|15||8 December 1948||11,788|
|16||26 August 1950|
|17||24 September 1952||16,223||1952–53 Kangaroo Tour|
|18||8 December 1956||15,854||1956–57 Kangaroo Tour|
|19||14 November 1959||24,466||1959–60 Kangaroo Tour|
|20||25 September 1963||15,068||1963–64 Kangaroo Tour|
|21||18 November 1963||11,746|
|22||13 October 1967||22,770||1967–68 Kangaroo Tour|
|23||17 November 1972||6,000||1972 Australian Rugby League World Cup tour|
|24||18 November 1978||10,645||1978 Kangaroo Tour|
|25||13 October 1982||12,158||1982 Kangaroo Tour|
|26||23 October 1983||9,749||1983 Queensland Maroons tour|
|27||6 October 1985||1985 New Zealand Kiwis tour|
|28||12 October 1986||30,622||1986 Kangaroo Tour|
|29||14 October 1990||24,814||1990 Kangaroo Tour|
|30||10 October 1993||1993 New Zealand Kiwis tour|
|31||8 October 1994||20,057||1994 Kangaroo Tour|
Central Park hosted 5 World Club Challenge games between 1987–1997.
|1||7 October 1987||36,895||1987 World Club Challenge|
|2||30 October 1992||17,764||1992 World Club Challenge|
|3||20 July 1997||12,816||1997 World Club Championship|
|4||28 July 1997||10,280|
|5||3 August 1997||12,504|
The World Club Series was an annual rugby league football competition played between clubs from the NRL and the Super League. The competition culminated with the World Club Challenge, a single match played between the reigning champions of each league.
Wigan Warriors Rugby League Football Club is a professional rugby league club in Wigan, Greater Manchester, England. The club competes in the Super League.
The DW Stadium is a stadium in Robin Park, near Wigan, within the Metropolitan Borough of Wigan, Greater Manchester, England. The ground is owned and managed by Wigan Football Company Limited, which is 85% owned by Wigan Athletic and 15% owned by Wigan local authority. It is used by Wigan Athletic football club and Wigan Warriors rugby league club, the rugby league club having a 50 years lease on tenancy to play games at the stadium. Built and opened in 1999, it is named after its main sponsor, DW Sports Fitness. In UEFA matches, it is called Wigan Athletic Stadium due to UEFA regulations on sponsorship.
Steven "Pearl" Renouf is an Australian former professional rugby league footballer who played in the 1980s, 1990s and 2000s. He was known as one of the sport's greatest centres. Renouf set numerous records for the Brisbane Broncos club. After spending eleven years with Brisbane, which yielded four premierships, he left Australia to play for English club Wigan Warriors, where he spent two seasons before retiring. He was named in Australia's Indigenous team of the century (1908–2007).
The 1994 Brisbane Broncos season was the seventh in the club's history. As defending Premiers the Broncos competed in the NSWRL's 1994 Winfield Cup competition, finishing the regular season 5th. They then progressed as far as the Semi-finals where a one-point loss to the North Sydney Bears saw them knocked out. Brisbane also hosted and lost the 1994 World Club Challenge to England's Wigan.
Joseph Paul Lydon is an English former professional rugby league footballer who played in the 1980s and 1990s, and coached rugby union in the 2000s and 2010s, and rugby league and rugby union administrator of the 1990s, 2000s and 2010s. He played representative level rugby league (RL) for Great Britain and Lancashire, and at club level for Widnes, Wigan and Eastern Suburbs, as a fullback, wing, centre, or stand-off, has coached representative level rugby union (RU) for England, England Sevens (2001-), was the Team Manager for Wigan (1994–96), Performance Consultant for Waterloo FC (2007-), Chief Executive for Wigan Warriors (2007-), Head of Rugby Performance & Development for Welsh Rugby Union (WRU) (2008-), and Head of International Player Development for Rugby Football Union (RFU) (2013-).
The history of the Brisbane Broncos Rugby League Football Club stretches back from their inception in the mid-1980s to the present day. They were introduced to the NSWRL's Winfield Cup premiership in 1988, taking the competition by storm in winning their first six games. The Broncos participated in 18 consecutive finals series from 1992–2009, winning premierships six times, including the 1992 and 1993 NSWRL premierships, the Superleague premiership in 1997 and then the 1998, 2000 and 2006 National Rugby League premierships.
Michael John "Mick" Hancock is an Australian former rugby league footballer. An Australian international and Queensland State of Origin representative wing, he played in the Brisbane Broncos first five Grand Final victories in 1992, 1993, 1997 Super League, 1998 and 2000. At the time of his retirement from football in Australia in 2000 he held the Broncos' club records for most career appearances. He played out the rest of his career in England with the Salford City Reds and retired in 2002.
Chris Johns is an Australian former rugby league footballer who played in the 1980s and 1990s. He played in the centres, achieving representative honors for Australia and New South Wales. His club football career was spent with the St. George Dragons and Brisbane Broncos, as well as two spells in England, first with Castleford in 1986-87 and then Barrow in 1989–90. After retiring from the playing field, Johns worked in the administration of the Brisbane Broncos and Melbourne Storm clubs.
John Plath is an Australian former rugby league footballer who played in the 1990s. He played in all of the Brisbane Broncos' first four grand final wins from the interchange bench and retired as the most-capped Bronco not to have played representative football.
Glenn Stewart is a former Australian professional rugby league footballer who last played for the Leigh Centurions in the Super League. An Australia international and New South Wales State of Origin representative second-row, he previously played for the Manly Warringah Sea Eagles and the South Sydney Rabbitohs in the NRL, winning the 2008 and 2011 premierships as well as the Clive Churchill Medal with the former.
The 1992 World Club Challenge match was contested by the 1991–92 Rugby Football League season champions Wigan and the 1992 NSWRL season's premiers, the Brisbane Broncos. The match took place on Friday night, 30 October in England, during the 1992–93 Rugby Football League season. It was also played less than a week after the 1992 Rugby League World Cup Final. A crowd of 17,764 turned out at Central Park, Wigan for the match which was refereed by New Zealand's Dennis Hale, the same referee as for the World Cup final one week earlier.
The 1994 MMI World Club Challenge was a replay of the 1992 World Club Challenge, with 1993–94 Rugby Football League season champions Wigan facing the 1993 NSWRL season premiers, the Brisbane Broncos, this time in Australia. Wigan were clearly the dominant club in the English game, having won the previous four consecutive Rugby Football League Championships and Challenge Cup tournaments. The Broncos, having won consecutive premierships in 1992 and 1993, were the dominant team in the Australian game at the time. In the World Club Challenge–this time played unusually late in the year–Wigan were looking to get revenge for their loss against Brisbane in the sides' previous encounter, and obtained a strong first-half lead. The English club then survived a second-half comeback from Brisbane and won the match, cementing their position as the world's dominant rugby league club of the period.
The 1987 World Club Challenge was only the second game of its kind to be played between Britain's and Australia's respective domestic rugby league champion clubs. Chairman of Britain's 1986–87 Rugby Football League season champions Wigan, Maurice Lindsay, invited Australia's 1987 NSWRL season premiers, the Manly-Warringah Sea Eagles to Wigan for the game. After this memorable match, the World Club Challenge was decided to be made an official annual feature on the rugby league calendar.
The History of Wigan Warriors stretches back to the club's foundation in 1872. It was one of the founding members of the Northern Rugby Football Union after the schism from the one code of rugby football in 1895. At the elite competition level, Wigan is the most successful club in the history of British Rugby League, measured by total of trophies won. The club has won 22 Rugby Football League Championships, 19 Challenge Cups and 4 World Club Challenge trophies.
The 2009 World Club Challenge was contested by Super League XIII champions, Leeds Rhinos, competing in their second consecutive World Club Challenge, and 2008 NRL Premiers, the Manly Warringah Sea Eagles. For the first time since 2003, the Australian champions defeated their English counterparts.
Frano Michael Botica is a New Zealand-Croatian rugby union and rugby league coach and former player in both codes, who played in the 1980s and 1990s. He is the head coach of the Philippines sevens team.
1997 in rugby league centered on the Super League II and Australasia's split season.
The 2014 World Club Challenge was the 15th consecutive annual World Club Challenge and was contested by Super League XVIII champions, Wigan Warriors and 2013 NRL Premiers, the Sydney Roosters. The 2014 World Club Challenge marked a return to Australia, 20 years after the last Australian based game. It was played on 22 February 2014 at Allianz Stadium in Sydney. The Roosters won the match 36–14.
The 1992 Rugby League World Cup final was the conclusive game of the 1989–1992 Rugby League World Cup tournament and was played between Great Britain and Australia on 24 October 1992 at Wembley Stadium in London, England. Australia won the final by 10 points to 6 in front of an international record crowd of 73,631. Australia, the defending champions, won the Rugby League World Cup for the 7th time.
| Home of Wigan RLFC |
1902 – 1999
|Preceded by|| Host of the World Club Challenge |
|Preceded by|| Host of the World Club Challenge |