Wigan players unwind at North Beach after Wollongong’s epic win

“Wollongong could not afford to pay for the worldwide exposure the city received” on Saturday night.

But Destination Wollongong general manager Mark Sleigh is adamant the benefits of hosting the first Super League fixture outside of Europe, was “priceless” for Wollongong.

For the record, Wigan Warriors picked up the two competition points after downing Hull FC 24-10 at WIN Stadium.

More than 12,000 packed into WIN Stadium for the game. Photo: Adam McLean

More than 12,000 packed into WIN Stadium for the game. Photo: Adam McLean

But Mr Sleigh has no doubts that the city of Wollongong was the biggest winner on Saturday night.

“There is no doubt there was major economic impact [Saturday] yesterday. You only had to walk the streets to see the cherry and white and the black and white that was everywhere for the last couple of days,” he said.

“But I think probably more importantly we had 5000 UK visitors in town sending photos of everything they had done on the South Coast –  all the great experiences they were having, the fantastic time they had at our stadium and on the beach and sending those memories back to the UK and all around the world through their social media posts.   

“This puts Wollongong on the map and it’s only going to mean that more and more of these events come to town.” Photo: Adam McLean

“This puts Wollongong on the map and it’s only going to mean that more and more of these events come to town.” Photo: Adam McLean

”The exposure that Wollongong received yesterday was something that we could never possible afford to buy and it is something that is going to stand Wollongong in good stead as we move forward.

“I think following on from the Elton John experience, we’ve really demonstrated now that Wollongong is a world class major events town and not only do we have the infrastructure to support major events, we have a community that is absolutely passionate about supporting major events and welcoming our visitors to town.

“Other promoters, clubs and teams look at these types of events and see how successful it has been in Wollongong.

“This puts Wollongong on the map and it’s only going to mean that more and more of these events come to town.”

Wigan players Sean O'Loughlin with fans at WIN Stadium. Photo: Adam McLean

Wigan players Sean O'Loughlin with fans at WIN Stadium. Photo: Adam McLean

Mr Sleigh said 18-months of planning went into creating a great week for rugby league in Wollongong.

And noises coming out of both the Wigan and Hull camps after the match suggests more Super League games are coming Wollongong’s way.

“I don’t know if it is an annual event. It may well be a bi-annual event but I have no doubt this won’t be the last time we see Super League footy in Wollongong,” Mr Sleigh said.

This story Wigan players unwind at North Beach after Wollongong’s epic win first appeared on Illawarra Mercury.