ALEX Murphy made a try-scoring debut as player coach for Wire in 1971.

Murphy, still on a high after steering Leigh to Challenge Cup glory three months earlier, also banged over a goal and drop goal as Wire knocked Whitehaven out of the Lancashire Cup.

But if fans had hopes of Murphy working overnight miracles, their hopes were short-lived.

After crashing out of the Lancashire Cup and the Floodlit Trophy the team created a club record eight successive defeats.

Murphy worked hard to find the winning formula and he introduced the likes of Wilf Briggs, Dave Chisnall, Geoff Clarkson, Dave Cunliffe, Toby Du Toit, George Heard, John Lowe, Derek Noonan, Frank Reynolds and Bobby Wanbon to Warrington's first team action.

It started to pay off in time for the Challenge Cup. Warrington reached the semi-finals, only missing out on a Wembley trip after losing a tense replay against St Helens.

Murphy had brought renewed optimism to Wilderspool and justifiably so. And his methods were having further rewards as average attendances had catapulted by more than a thousand.

Success followed in 1972/73. Warrington lost only one of their opening 22 games and ended the season with the League Leader's Trophy.

New arrivals that had helped Wire's cause included Kevin Ashcroft, Dennis Curling, John Hart, Clive Jones and Mike Nicholas.

Mike Philbin, Billy Pickup, Alan Whittle and Aussie Dave Wright joined the fold and it all led to Warrington's best season in history so far.

Welsh Rugby Union wonder John Bevan arrived just in time to enjoy it too. The former British Lion wingman signed on September 20, 1973. Three days later 'Bev' scored on his debut at home to Castleford.

What was to follow can only be described as phenomenal. The Captain Morgan Trophy competition was run for the first and only time and Wire clinched it with a final success over Featherstone.

Warrington followed that up with a defeat of Rochdale Hornets in the John Player final and then Murphy's men stormed to Challenge Cup success over Featherstone at Wembley.

The icing on the cake was the top eight play-off Trophy, secured after a 13-12 success over St. Helens.

It would have been too much to ask of Warrington to repeat their achievements in 1974/75. But they had a good go. Wire returned to Wembley only to have their celebrations spoiled by Widnes while they also had to settle for runners-up prize in the Floodlit Trophy.

There were honours for the Wilderspool ground too during this era. It staged its only Test match in December 1973, between Great Britain and Australia. The Kangaroos beat the Lions, and the freezing weather, 15-5 in front of 10,019 fans.

Then in 1975, Wilderspool staged the world cup clash between England and Wales.