Remembering when Wigan Warriors were ranked as record breaking outsiders for the first time ahead of week from hell

Wigan Warriors are very rarely regarded as the underdogs.

In the 1980s and 1990s, they were the powerhouse of rugby league. They won eight consecutive Challenge Cup Finals as they also dominated the league and the Premiership.

This helped bring about Super League, a switch to summer rugby and indeed the introduction of a salary cap.

However, in the first nine seasons of Super League, though not the hegemonic power they once were, Wigan were often in around the Grand Final and the top of the league.

But in 2005 they began to struggle and as they arrived at Headingley in summer they made unwanted history before a ball was kicked.

They went into the game against the reigning Super League Champions and a Leeds side at the top of the league hoping to take a three-point lead at the top of the league after St Helens drew with London Broncos the day before.

Leeds had won 15 of their previous 18 league games and the week before had beaten Wakefield Trinity at Belle Vue 70-6 as Ali Lauitiiti scored five tries including four in 11 minutes.

So, when the struggling and injury struck Warriors arrived at Headingley the bookies had slapped a record breaking head start on the Warriors.

They were given a huge 27-point head start, the first time the Warriors had been ranked as such outsiders.

The bookies would prove to be right as Leeds Rhinos stormed to a 70-0 win scoring 13 tries with braces for Rob Burrow, Mark Calderwood, Danny McGuire, Barrie McDermott and Chev Walker.

It was a week from hell for Warriors fans as the week after they took on St Helens in the Challenge Cup quarter-finals and lost 75-0 meaning they had lost 145-0 on aggregate over a week against two of their biggest rivals.

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