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  Sunday, 28 April, 2002, 10:55 GMT 11:55 UK
Doubters inspire Wigan win
Wigan celebrate their Challenge Cup final victory
Wigan seized their first silverware in four years

Brett Dallas has revealed that the criticism levelled at Wigan since the start of the season proved a major source of inspiration in the build-up to the shock Challenge Cup win over St Helens.

Speculation was starting to mount that Warriors coach Stuart Raper could lose his job following a poor start to the new Super League campaign.

And defeat at the hands of Saints in Saturday's showdown at Murrayfield would only have intensified the heat on the 37-year-old Australian.

But the knockers were silenced when Wigan claimed their first piece of silverware in four years, thanks to a 21-12 success over their bitter rivals.

This is a dream come true, but it is far better than I thought

Wigan wing Brett Dallas
"We knew we had the team and the goods to do it," said Dallas, who set the ball rolling for the Warriors with the game's first try.

"There were a lot of doubters in the last couple of weeks but that just spurred us on. It gave us more fire to prove everyone wrong."

Wigan assistant coach John Kear admitted that the club's failure to land a title after the trophy-laden days of the 1980s and early 1990s was starting to play on people's minds.

But he denied that Raper had been in danger of the sack prior to the win in Edinburgh.

"People had built pressure up that wasn't necessarily there," said the former England coach.

Wigan coach Stuart Raper
Raper's job was rumoured to be under threat
"The fact that the club hadn't won any silverware for four years and last won the Challenge Cup seven years ago was obviously a factor.

"After all, expectations are great. But hopefully the people of Wigan will really start getting behind us.

"The fans were magnificent and it would be great if they could kick on from this the next time we play at home."

Dallas said victory in the Challenge Cup final had been better than he had imagined.

"You watch the competition in Australia as a kid, with all the legends like Martin Offiah and Brett Kenny, and it is always a dream to emulate those guys.

"This is certainly a dream come true, but it is far better than I thought."

BBC Sport Online brings you all the action from the 2002 Challenge Cup

Radlinski's finest hour

Glory for Wigan

Team details

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Links to more Challenge Cup stories are at the foot of the page.


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