RUGBY League’s most decorated player, Shaun Edwards, has been confirmed as the coach of the Joining Jack Legends team that will play in a special game next Friday.
The side of heroes from years gone by will play a select team at the DW Stadium as a curtain-raiser to the Big One 5 when Wigan Warriors face Super League rivals Leeds Rhinos.
Edwards won 37 medals during a glorious 14 year spell at Wigan and also enjoyed brief spells with Bradford Bulls and London Broncos before moving into coaching.
Edwards has since forged a highly successful coaching career enjoying a 10 year stint at Wasps RU where he was latterly Head Coach along with his current role of Defence Coach for Wales RU.
On his latest coaching appointment Edwards joked: “I think this is the biggest appointment and possibly the toughest challenge of my career to date, I’ve heard that some of my new players aren’t in the best shape so I’m particularly looking forward to putting them through their paces.
“In all seriousness though I am really happy that I can come along and play my part with the guys. I’ve played alongside a lot of them and the word ‘Legends’ is very fitting, not only for what they did in their playing careers but for what they are doing here too.”
Nine players have been confirmed so far for the Legends with another huge announcement on Monday.
The players set to play are Jason Robinson, Henry Paul, Kris Radlinski, Mick Cassidy, Andy Johnson, Gary Connolly, Paul Sculthorpe, Sean Long and Chris Joynt.
On heading back to Wigan, Edwards added: “I’ve never lost touch with the town, I still have lots of friends up in Wigan and obviously I have countless memories of my time at the club. I can’t wait to head back to the DW Stadium for what will be a very special night.”
Andy Johnson, who founded the Joining Jack charity to find a cure for Duchenne muscular dystrophy following son Jack’s diagnosis, said: “When it was mentioned about getting Shaun in as coach a few of us laughed but he brings so much to the table.
“His experience as a coach is unrivalled, he has coached for over ten years at the very top level and any help we can get to help us be successful is greatly appreciated. I think it shows also just how seriously we are taking the game and the Dubai Masters Tournament in December.”
Edwards will have a couple of popular figures in his backroom team with none other than Martin Offiah set to be a Water Carrier and Craig Murdock standing in as Kit Man to the team.
Edwards joked: “I wasn’t too sure about these appointments myself but Martin assures me he is up to the task and Craig has been taking tips off Wigan Kit Man George Unsworth so hopefully he will do ok for us.”
The game forms part of a top night of Entertainment with Starsailor’s James Walsh, singer-song writer Carolynne Poole and the New York Brass Band all set to perform.
Whilst a giant eight-foot tall Super League trophy will be unveiled by sponsors Houses for Homes, made from donated tins the trophy will be given to The Brick food bank.
Tickets for the Big One 5 are on sale from the DW Stadium ticket office, the ticket hotline 0871 6633 552 and online at wiganwarriors.com