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“Salary cap” – BBC pundit explains why Matt Peet’s Wigan are the best of Super League era

Wigan secured the Challenge Cup on a sunny Saturday afternoon at Wembley, prevailing 18-8 as they proved too strong for Warrington.

It completed the trophy set for the Warriors, who now hold all four rugby league trophies on offer – the questions are now being asked as to where they rank in terms of the greatest teams of the summer era.

They are only the third team since Super League started in 1996 to achieve this feat, with Bradford Bulls in 2003 and St Helens in 2006 the previous ‘four-midable’ clubs.

Speaking after the game on BBC Sport, pundit Kevin Brown put his argument across as to why this current Wigan team take the ‘greatest of the summer era’ title, despite those that have gone before them.

Despite Wigan winning the Challenge Cup in a separate season to those Bradford and Saints teams, who won the treble and then the World Club Challenge, Brown pointed to the NRL salary cap to sway the discussion Wigan’s way.

QUIZ: How many of these 10 players can you name from the Super League era?

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Kevin Brown hails Wigan Warriors achievement

Credit: Imago Images

In 2003 and 2006, the NRL salary cap was near enough on par with that of Super League, however in 2024, there is a chasm between the financial power of the two competitions.

The NRL cap is now almost three times that of Super League. Brown believes that because of that, Wigan’s achievement of holding all four trophies in the current era – having beaten Penrith Panthers in the World Club Challenge at the start of the season – is greater than anything achieved since 1996.

Speaking on head coach Matt Peet and Wigan’s achievement, Brown said: “Make no mistake, Matt Peet is a very, very demanding coach.

“But the by-product of that is success. And that makes you feel happy. That brings you together as a club.

“And the success they’ve got in winning all four trophies, I think it’s the hardest time to do it right now with the salary cap the way it is in Australia.

“So to knock that one off and then be consistent is admirable because he was nervous this week, more so, because he knew what was at stake.

“It wasn’t just a Challenge Cup final, it was the legacy that he leaves behind holding all four trophies at one time.”

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