Warriors departures: It’s unfair to blame players

Josh Charnley
Josh Charnley

There was a certain irony to the disappointment which greeted the news Dan Sarginson would be leaving Wigan - when he signed, Shaun Wane received letters from fans questioning whether he was good enough!

In a week bookended by derbies against St Helens and Warrington, we’ve had one other game and two players confirm they are leaving.

Not exactly a peaceful Easter week, then.

Let’s not pretend it isn’t disappointing for Wigan to lose two England internationals.

But...

But...

It’s unfair to blame players for wanting to get more from their short careers, whether that’s in terms of experiences, challenges or money.

Many others have done the same. Many of those have returned.

Josh Charnley and Sarginson have both given good service to the club, particularly the former, who has scored tries for fun and become a real crowd-pleaser.

In a week when we mark 20 years of Super League, he was a contender for one of the wing places in my fictitious ‘Wigan dream team of the last two decades’, just behind Pat Richards and Brett Dallas.

Personally, I think his talents will be wasted in union, but good luck to him. I’d love nothing more than to see another Wiganer (I know, he’s from Chorley, but I’m still claiming him) in the England side.

The silver-lining to Sarginson’s move to the Gold Coast is, of course, he is staying in rugby league and it’s hard not to envisage the England team becoming stronger with more of our players in the NRL.

But as I’ve said before, I tend not to stress about player departures. Recent history has taught me not to.

Some fans were up in arms when Pat Richards chose to leave but, had he not done, Joe Burgess would never have had a chance to come through. And if he hadn’t left last year, Dom Manfredi may be kicking his heels on the sidelines.

Wigan already have another starting centre, in the shape of Oliver Gildart, who is on a long-term deal.

And the combination of academy-graduates - and one or two new recruits - should, hopefully, unearth a new wing star for next year.