Wigan are to salute legendary stand-off Brett Kenny when they travel to Australia next month.
The Warriors’ Super League clash with Hull FC in Wollongong on February 10 will be for the Kenny-Sterling Shield, the club revealed.
And they are also staging a fundraising event for Kenny and his family – the former Australia international has been battling lymphoma cancer for several months.
Kenny only spent one season with Wigan, but left a huge impression.
He scored 19 tries in 25 appearances, and was named the man of the match in the epic 1985 Challenge Cup Final at Wembley – a game in which his former Parramatta halfback partner Peter Sterling played for the Black and Whites.
The two clubs will make history when they go to battle at the WIN Stadium, the first-ever Super League fixture to be fulfilled outside of Europe, and Warriors’ executive director Kris Radlinski said it was only fitting to salute the two Australian greats.
Radlinski said: “Wigan and Hull have had many great games over the years and none more so than the 1985 Challenge Cup Final, widely regarded as the greatest cup final in living memory.
“Both Brett Kenny and Peter Sterling had huge impacts on the Wigan and Hull clubs so it is fitting that we honour them by playing off for the Kenny Sterling Shield in their home State of New South Wales.
“With Brett having been diagnosed with cancer last year and his stepson having suffered a spinal injury we were keen to raise some funds for the Kenny family. Along with Destination Wollongong and Parramatta Leagues Club we will also host a lunch the day before our game with all proceeds going to Brett and his family.”
The Kenny Sterling Shield has been hand carved by local artist, Noel Butler, who is the uncle of former NRL star Preston Campbell. The shield has a stunning design that will include an adaption of an historic image from the 1985 Challenge Cup Final featuring Kenny and Sterling and animal carvings that is significant to showing the local indigenous community.
The fundraising lunch on February 9 will be at the City Beach Function Centre in Wollongong. Kenny and Sterling will both be in attendance as guest speakers.
Kenny said: “I had a wonderful time at Wigan and feel proud and honoured to have my name on this wonderful shield. A Wigan and Hull game brings back so many great memories for me. I can’t wait to meet up with the team next month and am really looking forward to the game in Wollongong.”
Wigan also face Souths the following weekend in an exhibition match which will also see Hull FC take on St George Illawarra.