George Williams was “buzzing” after making history with his hometown club.
The England halfback played a starring role - and took the man of the match - as Wigan emerged from a bruising World Club Challenge with a hard-fought 22-6 victory.
Shaun Wane invited the heroes of ‘87 to speak to the players in the build-up, and minutes after full-time at the DW Stadium yesterday, Williams admits the significance of the win had hit home.
“I’m still buzzing,” said Williams. “It’s a dream come true – I didn’t think anything could top the Grand Final, and now this.
“This week, we watched some footage of the old finals and heard from those players who were involved in ‘87, and heard what it meant to those players.
“And now we’ve got our own story to tell. It’s incredible.”
They’re human, they bleed, it’s about who plays best on the day
Joe Burgess’ late hat-trick try sealed the win and ultimately made the final scoreline look more comfortable than the game felt.
“I dropped a ball when there was 10 points in it, and I thought, ‘This could cost us’,” said Williams.
“The boys turned up for each other, no matter who messed up, we sorted it as a team.
“It was tough at the end. In the last 10 minutes I couldn’t find my lungs.
“But the boys dug deep and that’s what makes good sides into champion sides.”
The win came less than 24 hours after Warrington’s victory against Brisbane in the World Club Series, to help restore some of Super League’s battered pride.
Williams says the key to victory was ensuring they weren’t beaten before kick-off.
“You can’t build them up to something they’re not,” said Williams. “They’ve got some class but so have we.
“They’re human, they bleed - it’s who plays best on the day.
“We’ve been written off for years and the results don’t lie, we have done poorly recently.
“But it’s 2-0 now, and hopefully now the Aussies will be keen to come over and prove a point.”