An open letter to the wonderful people of “The Gong” from Wigan Warriors Executive Director Kris Radlinski.
Six months ago I visited your town for the first time with my little Kiwi friend, our commercial manager, Dan Burton.
We had a vision of bringing a Super League game to the other side of the world.
The iconic WIN Stadium was the top of our list.
We wanted to see that famous John Cleary hill full with our adoring fans.
That dream became a reality this week.
We attracted a really great crowd, produced an entertaining game and drank most bars dry.
The sunburnt fans of Wigan and Hull had the times of their lives.
Everything that Wollongong had promised was delivered, and much much more.
Wherever we went in town, we were welcomed with open arms.
Friendships were forged that will last a lifetime.
I believe that my club kept our side of the bargain also.
I was really proud of how my staff and players conducted themselves.
They embraced the people of your town (particularly in Pepe's!).
The impact of the community takeover will be felt for years to come with over 7000 children hearing about rugby league.
I believe the world is a better place with kids with a rugby ball in their hands.
The values that rugby league affords the people who are involved - honesty, humility and integrity will set you right for the rest of your life.
I hope that we inspired the next generation.
I am a very proud Wiganer and I love my town dearly but I have now got a place in my heart for Wollongong.
Thank you for the memories this week, we must do it again some time!
*Kris Radlinski, as well as his current role with Wigan, is one of the greats of English rugby league
The fullback played over 300 games with the Wigan Warriors and was capped 20 times by Great Britain and 10 times by England.
He was selected to make his debut for Wigan by then coach and now Wollongong City councillor John Doraghy.
In 2007 he was awarded an MBE for his services to rugby league.