A RETURN to Elland Road for next year’s Magic Weekend will see Warrington head back to the scene of one of their greatest days in living memory.

We are, of course, talking about the against-the-odds Premiership Trophy final victory over Halifax back in 1986.

Two months after taking over the coaching reins from former Widnes scrum half Reg Bowden on a caretaker basis, Tony Barrow guided Warrington to a record-breaking 38-10 smashing of the champions at Leeds United’s ground.

As underdogs, The Wire had not a care in the world for the script and steamrollered Yorkshire’s finest in the second stanza.

Impressively, Warrington took on Halifax at their own game - right down the middle.

And the Fax pack that had seen off all-comers to pip Wigan, St Helens, Warrington and Widnes to the league title - by finishing top of the table - had no answer to the power, strength and guile of the Wire front row featuring Les Boyd, Kevin Tamati and Bob Jackson.

Loose forward Mike Gregory was in imperious mood too, while the enthusiasm and pace of back rowers Mark Roberts and Gary Sanderson swept Fax aside in the second half.

The softening up process was done in the first 40 minutes, time and time again the toughness of the Wire defence sent Halifax reeling backwards despite the possession they benefited from thanks to Fred Lindop’s penalty count of 14-7 favouring the blue and whites.

It was assistant coach Boyd’s finest hour in a primrose and blue shirt, receiving the Harry Sunderland Trophy as the man of the match after inspiring Warrington to rack up 28 unanswered points to seal the club’s first silverware success since the Lancashire Cup triumph of 1982.

The skipper scored the first and last of seven Warrington tries, while touchdowns from Tamati and Jackson in the opening five minutes of the second period effectively won the game.

Warrington Guardian:

One of Les Boyd's two tries

Eyebrows were raised over Paul Ford’s selection ahead of Brian Johnson at full back but the former West Park man had been in such good form during the Australian regular’s absence through injury it was tough to leave the 25-year-old out.

Ford repaid the faith with another fine display and Johnson got to celebrate in style off the bench in the second half when he scored one of the tries of the season from a long-range kick return.

Warrington’s other try scorers were Great Britain under 21s three-quarter Mark Forster and stand off Paul Bishop, who landed five goals from 10 attempts.

In his Warrington Guardian match report at the time, former sports editor John Dickens wrote: “They outplayed Halifax so much that the champions hardly got a look-in during a second half which The Wire won by a mile.”


Warrington: Paul Ford; Mark Forster, Paul Cullen, Ronnie Duane, Brian Carbert; Paul Bishop, Andy Gregory; Les Boyd, Kevin Tamati, Bob Jackson, Gary Sanderson, Mark Roberts, Mike Gregory. Subs: Brian Johnson, Billy McGinty.

Halifax: Colin Whitfield; Eddison Riddlesden, Tony Anderson, Chris Anderson, Scott Wilson; John Crossley, Gary Stephens; Mick Scott, Seamus McCallion, Geoff Robinson, Brian Juliff, Neil James, Paul Dixon. Subs: Steve Smith, Steve Bond.

Attendance: 13,683

Warrington Guardian:

One that got away. This Billy McGinty effort was ruled out.

Watch brief highlights here: