ENGLISH Rugby League heavyweights Wigan Warriors and Hull FC will pay homage to two of the code’s greatest ever players when they face-off for the Kenny Sterling Shield in Wollongong on 10th February 2018.
The two teams will create history when they go head to head at WIN Stadium in the first ever Super League fixture to be played outside of Europe.
One week later the two Super League heavyweights will be involved in a historic International Double-Header at Stadium Australia with Hull FC taking on the St George Illawarra Dragons at 5:30pm and Wigan Warriors playing the South Sydney Rabbitohs at 7:45pm. Details on the double-header here.
The winner of the Wollongong fixture will take home two Super League points and the Kenny Sterling Shield named after Wigan legend Brett Kenny and Hull legend Peter Sterling.
Hand carved by local indigenous artist, Noel Butler, uncle of former NRL star Preston Campbell, the shield is 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 significant to the local indigenous community.
A fundraiser will also be held for the Kenny family on Friday 9th February at the City Beach Function Centre in Wollongong.
Both Brett Kenny and Peter Sterling will be in attendance and speaking at the lunch, which will also include Wigan Warriors Chairman Ian Lenagan, Warriors Executive Director and former player, Kris Radlinski and Hull FC Football Manager and former player Gareth Ellis with Matt Russell from Fox Sports as MC. The lunch includes a two-course meal with beverage package and costs $99 per person.
Wigan Warriors Executive Director, Kris 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.”
Brett Kenny spent one season with Wigan Rugby League Club scoring 19 tries in 25 appearances. A four time Australian premiership winner with Parramatta, the superstar back was named Man of the Match in the 1985 Challenge Cup Final as Wigan beat Hull at Wembley.
Parramatta, NSW and Australian teammate, Peter Sterling earned legendary status for Hull during two spells with the Black and Whites. He featured 36 times for Hull and is remembered as one of the greatest ever players to pull on the jersey.
James Clark, Hull FC Executive Director, said:
“This is a fantastic way to celebrate our historic fixture in Wollongong as two of the biggest Super League clubs go head-to-head in recognition of a couple of their all-time greats.
“Peter is amongst an elite group of players to reside in our club’s Hall of Fame and is widely regarded as one of the greatest ever players to wear the black and white jersey, whilst Brett is equally prominent in Wigan Rugby League folklore.”
Brett 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 Warriors look set to have a great impact on the region in February with “The Best of Both Worlds” Junior Rugby League Development Day on Thursday 8th February.
Wigan will join forces with the St George Illawarra Dragons, Hull FC and representatives from the 2017 Women’s Rugby League World Cup winning Australian Jillaroos to undertake the largest community participation Rugby League event ever seen on the South Coast.
Co-ordinated by the NRL, the squads will visit 45 schools over five local government areas during the course of the day, culminating in two mass participation events in Wollongong and Kiama.
Wigan have also recognised the significance of the Illawarra Steelers to local league fans and will warm up in a Steelers inspired jersey prior to the Super League fixture at WIN Stadium.
Former Wigan and Steelers player Steve Hampson will join Wigan great Gary Connolly on the team’s Tour of NSW as ambassadors.
The Super League teams will also face NRL opposition on Saturday 17th February when Wigan face South Sydney Rabbitohs and Hull take on St George Illawarra Dragons at Stadium Australia.
This momentous Super League fixture was secured exclusively for Wollongong by the NSW Government via its tourism and major events agency, Destination NSW, in partnership with Wigan RLFC and Destination Wollongong.
NSW Minister for Tourism and Major Events Adam Marshall said:
“Wollongong is one of the nation’s rugby league heartlands and the NSW Government is delighted to bring this historic Super League fixture to regional NSW and welcomes the news that two greats of the game in Brett Kenny and Peter Sterling will be acknowledged for their significant contribution to Rugby League in both England and Australia.
“This historic Super League fixture will not only excite the local community but will bring great benefit to the region’s visitor economy, attracting rugby league fans to Wollongong for what’s sure to be a thrilling game. I have no doubt visitors from across Australia and our State will get right behind the match in Wollongong and support the fundraising efforts for Brett Kenny.”
Destination Wollongong General Manager, Mark Sleigh said:
“From the moment Wigan made a commitment to the tour, they were adamant that this was more than just a game of Rugby League. They were bringing their club to leave a cherry and white footprint on NSW, and their commitment to junior league and raising money for one of the greats of Rugby League has certainly done that!”
Tickets for the Brett Kenny fundraiser can be purchased here: http://www.visitwollongong.com.au/win-wigan-warriors-v-hull-fc
Tickets for Wigan Warriors vs Hull FC at WIN Stadium can be purchased here: http://www.ticketmaster.com.au/event/13005316B840AB44?did=sgid
Tickets for the first ever double-header games between Super League and NRL teams at a single venue when Wigan face South Sydney Rabbitohs and Hull FC play St George Illawarra Dragons at Stadium Australia, Sydney on Saturday 17 February, 2018 can be purchased here: http://www.anzstadium.com.au/whats-on/2018/02/international-double-header/