On this day: Warriors fail to become World Champions

10 years ago on the 27th February Super League Champions Wigan took on Australia’s finest – St George Illawarra – at the DW Stadium in the 2011 World Club Challenge.

The last two World Club Challenges had gone the way of the Australians. In 2009 Manly fended off a valiant Leeds Rhinos comeback to win 28-24 and in 2010 Leeds were again beaten this time by Melbourne 18-10.

Wigan were determined to set that straight following their best season in 12 years. The Warriors had finished top with an impressive 44 points from a possible 54 and had marched onto Old Trafford where they beat rivals St Helens 22-10 to win only their second Super League crown.

It had been a similar season for St George down under. For the second season in a row they finished top of the pile but this time had the steal to make it throw the finals and be crowned champions defeating Sydney Roosters in the decider.

And so the two dominant forces of 2010 butted heads at the start of 2011. St George brought a full strength team to the DW Stadium with star Jamie Soward lining up at stand-off. He would later go onto play in England for the London Broncos. The dynamic half was joined by Australian international Darius Boyd at fullback. The Warriors too boasted a classy line-up however they were without reigning Man of Steel Pat Richards.

It proved to be a tight encounter. George Carmont was a class act for the Warriors scoring two superb tries in a performance befitting of Wigan’s one of shirt which featured three stars in celebration of their past World Championship triumphs.

But it wasn’t to be for the Warriors as St George had too much for the English Champions coming away with a closely fought 21-14 victory thanks to two Brett Morris tries and a Jamie Soward drop goal.

Ironically, Brett Morris would again torment Wigan in the 2019 World Club Challenge. That came two years after Wigan won their fourth World Title in 2017 as they beat Cronulla Sharks at the DW Stadium.

Nonetheless, the 2011 World Club Challenge is a forgotten yet impressive instalment in World Club Challenge history. It was a close encounter between two superb teams.

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