Martin Offiah MBE
Inducted into the Hall of Fame - 2013
Born: 29 December 1966; Hackney, London
Clubs: Widnes, Wigan, London Broncos & Salford City Reds
Hackney-born Martin Offiah became the highest try-scoring Englishman of all-time in a career with Widnes, Wigan, London Broncos, Salford, Eastern Suburbs and St George.
When his career came to a halt with Salford in 2001, the jet-heeled winger was behind only Brian Bevan and Billy Boston on Rugby League’s all-time try-scoring chart.
Offiah amassed 501 career touchdowns including 20 in stints with the Roosters and Dragons between 1989 and 1993. And he headed the British try-scoring charts on a record six occasions between 1987-88 and 1995-96, surpassing the five-time feats of Australian wing legends Brian Bevan and Eric Harris.
Signed from Rosslyn Park RU club in the summer of 1987, Offiah headed the game’s try-scoring charts in each of his four seasons with Widnes including 60 in 1988-89. His debut season saw him take the coveted Man of Steel accolade after he had shattered Frank Myler’s tries-in-a-season record for Widnes.
He was instrumental in Widnes winning consecutive First Division titles in 1987-88 and 1988-89, scoring a try hat-trick in the final game at home to Wigan on the latter occasion.
Additionally, he savoured three consecutive Old Trafford Premiership triumphs and played his part in an epic 1989 World Club Challenge defeat of Canberra Raiders at the Manchester venue. He became a World Club Challenge winner with two clubs when Wigan defeated Brisbane Broncos in their own backyard in 1994.
Offiah became the game’s costliest player when moving from Widnes to Wigan for £440,000 in January 1992 and amassed 30 tries in 16 appearances playing outside Gene Miles that season, including 5 in the Cup semi-final defeat of Bradford and a club record 10 against Leeds. There was also a Lance Todd Trophy-winning display when scoring two tries in the Wembley defeat of Castleford.
He joined the exclusive band of players to win the Lance Todd Trophy twice when scoring his iconic length-of-the-field try in Wigan’s 1994 Cup Final defeat of Leeds and was a try-scorer in defeat when London Broncos made their Wembley debut against Leeds in 1999.
After making a try-scoring GB debut in Avignon in 1988, Offiah made the first of three Lions tours that year and was a try-scorer as the Lions ended their 10-year wait for victory over Australia in Sydney. He was a try-scorer in the 1990 Wembley Test defeat of Australia and in the 33-10 victory in Melbourne two years later.
He set a Great Britain record with his 5 tries in the 1991 defeat of France at Headingley and equalled England’s try record with 4 in the 73-6 defeat of France at Gateshead five years later, emulating Jim Leytham, Stan Moorhouse, Peter Norburn and Stuart Wright.
But he was unable to savour a series win over Australia and finished second-best in two World Cup Finals in 1992 (for Great Britain) and 1995 (with England).
His 33 test appearances produced 26 tries, with only Mick Sullivan and Garry Schofield being ahead of him on the GB chart, plus a further 6 tries in 5 appearances for England.