Challenge Cup final: How Matt Peet’s Wigan Warriors conquered the rugby league world | rugby league news

There was a time when the concept of ‘The Four Cups’ was considered the holy grail of rugby league, with only three clubs achieving the feat of capturing the league championship, county championship, Challenge Cup and cup. of the county in one season.

The abolition of the county leagues and cups in 1970 and 1993 respectively means that the records of Hunslet in 1907/08, Huddersfield in 1914/15 and Swinton in 1927/28 will never be equaled, but the closest thing in the summer era has been proven to be almost as elusive.

In winning the Betfred Challenge Cup with an 18-8 victory over Warrington Wolves at Wembley on Saturday, Matt Peet’s Wigan Warriors joined Bradford Bulls and St Helens, treble winners in 2003 and 2006 respectively before winning the World Club Challenge the following year. in having all the titles available at the same time.

Champions of the ‘Four Cups’ in the Super League era

Bradford bulls: 2003 Challenge Cup, 2003 League Leaders Shield, 2003 Super League Grand Final, 2004 World Club Challenge.

Saint Helena: 2006 Challenge Cup, 2006 League Leaders Shield, 2006 Super League Grand Final, 2007 World Club Challenge.

Wigan Warriors: Super League Grand Final 2023, League Leaders Shield 2023, World Club Challenge 2024, Challenge Cup 2024.

It is a run of success rarely seen for the Cherry and Whites since the heady days of the 1980s and 1990s, and veteran captain Liam Farrell has not experienced anything on this scale in his 14 years as a first-team player.

“We’ve got legends as players at our club (assistant coaches) Tommy Leuluai and Sean O’Loughlin – they’ve never done anything like this,” said Farrell, who now has 11 major honors to his name.

“Then we have players like Brad O’Neill, who is 21 years old and has won everything. I’ve been here for a while, and this is a pretty special team we have here at the moment.

“Obviously we have some very talented players throughout the team, but we have that combination of youth, talent and experience, and it has all come together. The guys like to spend time together and a lot of that is down to Matty and his staff.

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Highlights from Wigan Warriors’ victory over NRL champions Penrith Panthers in this year’s World Club Challenge

“The way we approach our training days, we are intense when necessary, but we also laugh and that is one of the main reasons we come to work. If we are not enjoying what we are doing, “We don’t go to be able to act as we are doing.

For Peet, Wigan’s third-year head coach, it was the second time he has overseen his hometown team lifting the trophy in rugby league’s oldest and most prestigious knockout competition, with the 2022 Challenge Cup triumph being his first trophy in command.

Both Farrell and Lance Todd Trophy winner Bevan French were quick to praise the environment Peet has fostered at the club as key to the continued success the Warriors enjoy, although the boss was quick to return that praise to the players.

In particular, injured second row Willie Isa won plaudits for his shirt presentation before the final, in which each player spoke about their heritage and was reflected at full time at Wembley, with several wearing their flags. of representation on their shoulders.

Obviously we have very talented players throughout the team, but we have that combination of youth, talent and experience, and it has all come together. The boys like to spend time together and a lot of that is due to Matty and his staff.

Liam Farrell, Wigan Warriors captain

“It was very, very special. I’m sure it brought the guys together to dig as deep as they did,” Peet said. “What Willie did there, as a leader and senior player, was incredible.

“I didn’t know much about Aboriginal culture, I didn’t know much about Cameroon, I didn’t know much about Swaziland and Lebanon.

“When you see 20 flags placed, it makes you want that player to do well when you understand them a little more and I’m sure all the players were the same.

“It’s amazing when you have a group of men working together and we have quite a diverse team, which is something we celebrate.”

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A look back at Wigan Warriors’ path to their first Betfred Super League title since 2018

Attention now turns back to the defense of the Super League title as Wigan have 15 regular season games remaining and trail leaders and arch-rivals St Helens on points difference having played one game less.

However, Peet’s focus won’t change, focusing firmly on enjoying every moment they are together and knowing there are potentially even greater achievements ahead.

“This group is at its best when they play for each other,” Peet said. “When I watch this team play, I think, ‘How good is this? Make them excited to win.’

“It’s less about the opposition, more about them; how much fun can we have? How much connection can we build?

“I think this group of players is motivated by what they can accomplish and the memories they can create together.”

Wigan Warriors’ Betfred Super League defense continues away to Castleford Tigers on Friday June 14, live on Sky Sports Action (8pm kick-off). Watch every match of the 2024 Super League season live on Sky Sports or stream it contract-free with NOW.

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