Tomorrow’s World Club Challenge will bring 30-year old memories rushing back for Richard Russell.
He played on the wing when Wigan famously beat Manly 8-2 at Central Park.
“It was an historic game and such a memorable night,” recalls Russell, who also played for Castleford and hometown Oldham.
“I was only about 19 and the atmosphere was just fantastic.
“Central Park was jammed full. I remember nobody had told us there would be fireworks so, when they were going off, we were like “Jesus Christ, what’s that!?”
“There was a load of smoke everywhere and that took a while to go. Then, when they came out, I just couldn’t believe how big the Manly players were.
“It was just one of those nights. The defence was fantastic. Our forwards were phenomenal… Shaun Wane, Brian Case, in fact all of them.
“We definitely believed we could win it and, as a young kid, I was just pinching myself that I was playing in a team like that. There was Ellery Hanley, Shaun Edwards, Andy Gregory...seeing those alongside you just made me more comfortable, and other young lads like Ian Gildart.”
Gildart was in the matchday squad but an unused substitute - in an era when forwards regularly played 80 minutes. His son Oliver is set to play for Wigan against Cronulla tomorrow.
“It will be a special moment for those two,” said Russell, whose own son Oliver is in Wigan’s academy set-up.
“He’s trained real hard and we’re expecting this year to be a big one.”