Eight months on and Wigan are 80 minutes away from being rewarded for their daring.
At the start of the season, they packed up and flew 22 hours, bringing Hull FC with them for the first ever game for competition points outside of Europe, in sunny Wollongong.
The Warriors beat Hull 24-10 at WIN Stadium, kick starting their march to the Super League grand final.
It brought fanfare in true northern English style, but more than anything, it brought ambition.
Rugby league needs more of it, if it is to grow in the national and international sporting markets.
Before the game, sitting under a parasol overlooking North Beach back in February, Wigan owner Ian Lenagan was scathing of the NRL.
“I think [the NRL] is more than slightly dropping the ball,” Lenagan said in an exclusive chat with the Illawarra Mercury.
“Why on earth aren’t the NRL clubs’ recognising that their franchise would be worth 10s of millions [of dollars] if they would actually treat international club rugby league the right way.
“For the last 10 years it has been the best competition in the world and, because it’s the lead competition in the world, it needs to stop being so insular.
“I understand politics is a huge factor within the NRL, but they have a classic opportunity that they’re neglecting.”
On Sunday morning (AEST), Wigan coach Shaun Wane is hoping to win a third title in his final season as coach.
But standing in his way is a man who Illawarra and Dragons fans know well.
Many doubted Steve Price’s ability as a head coach when he became the man after the man, when he replaced 2010 premiership winner Wayne Bennett at St George Illawarra in 2012, sacked two years later after 21 wins in 58 games.
Price has since been an assistant to Shane Flanagan when the Sharks won their first ever premiership in 2016. Now he can make Warrington champions for the first time.
The NRL – and State of Origin – will stand as rugby league’s greatest products for some time.
But the Super League is no longer just a well-paid retirement home for ageing talent.
It’s making significant gains in the international marketplace through globalisation, even as the Toronto Wolfpack were denied a place in the Super League next year when they were beaten by London Broncos in the so-called ‘million-pound game’ for promotion.
It’s inevitable Toronto will be a force in the top-tier in coming years.
From there, well it leaves Super League well placed to break further into the north American market, as NRL clubs whinge about their players being involved in Tests in the US.