On This Day in 1992: Martin Offiah and Wigan break rugby league transfer record

PA Sport Staff
·2-min read

Martin Offiah became the most valuable player in rugby league history when he joined Wigan on January 3, 1992.

Wigan, the league’s glamour club, paid £440,000 to sign Offiah from Widnes – a record that lasted for 14 years.

Offiah started out in rugby union and had already attracted national attention before switching codes to join Widnes in 1987.

His impact was immediate, with the lightning winger being named Man of Steel in his first season as Widnes were crowned champions and scoring more than 100 tries in two seasons.

He transitioned seamlessly into the Wigan team, forming a brilliant partnership with Gene Miles and scoring 30 tries in only 15 games in his first season, including a club-record 10 in one game against Leeds.

In four years with the club he scored 186 tries in 159 games, the most famous of which came in the 1994 Challenge Cup final against Leeds at Wembley, when he ran virtually from his own line to score.

Martin Offiah celebrates his famous try in the 1994 Challenge Cup final
Martin Offiah celebrates his famous try in the 1994 Challenge Cup final (David Giles/PA)

Offiah is included in a statue of rugby league greats at Wembley along with Alex Murphy, Billy Boston, Eric Ashton and Gus Risman.

During his league career, which also included stints with Australian clubs Eastern Suburbs and St George Dragons as well as London Broncos and Salford, Offiah averaged more than a try per game.

He finished his career back in union with Wasps, who were coached by his former Wigan team-mate Shaun Edwards, playing eight games before calling it a day in 2002.