Manfredi flies in to replace Budgie

Dom Manfredi
Dom Manfredi
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DOM Manfredi is the big winner of the Wigan Warriors squad numbers shuffle for 2016.

The winger has been promoted from the No.22 shirt to take the coveted No.5 vacated by NRL-bound Joe Burgess.

His elevation won’t come as a surprise - Manfredi played 18 games last season and had edged ahead of Josh Charnley in the pecking order for the Grand Final.

Coach Shaun Wane has repeatedly stressed he pays little attention to squad numbers.

But they are often seen as a clear indication of where players are ranked in the pecking order ahead of the new campaign.

And for Manfredi, the fact he has landed a place in the ‘starting 13’ - and a number worn by some of the club’s greats - is rich recognition of his progress.

Elsewhere, returning full-back Sam Tomkins has - as expected - taken back his old No.1 shirt exited by Matty Bowen, in the only other change in the first 14 numbers.

Below that, Tony Clubb has nudged up two places to 15, followed by Sam Powell and Lee Mossop.

New signing Willie Isa has been given the No.25.

Teenage centre Oliver Gildart’s late-season charge has been rewarded with the No.20 shirt - he was No.34 last season - and fellow academy products Ryan Sutton, Lewis Tierney and Connor Farrell have moved higher, reflecting the bigger roles they are expected to play in 2016.

Of the 25 players who have played Super League, a staggering 17 have progressed through Wigan’s academy system.

There are only three overseas players in the squad - Anthony Gelling, Isa and Taulima Tautai.

As in recent seasons the No.18 shirt has been left vacant as a salute to the Warriors fans for their support.

Of the squad which started last year, Bowen, Burgess, Iain Thornley and Logan Tomkins have left, while Ryan Hampshire has joined Castleford on a season-long loan.

The squad numbers are:

1 Sam Tomkins, 2. Josh Charnley, 3. Anthony Gelling, 4. Dan Sarginson, 5. Dom Manfredi, 6. George Williams, 7. Matty Smith, 8. Dom Crosby, 9. Michael McIlorum, 10. Ben Flower, 11. Joel Tomkins, 12. Liam Farrell, 13. Sean O’Loughlin, 14. John Bateman, 15. Tony Clubb, 16 Sam Powell, 17. Lee Mossop, 18. Wigan Warriors Fans, 19. Taulima Tautai, 20. Oliver Gildart, 21. Ryan Sutton, 22. Lewis Tierney, 23. Connor Farrell, 24. Rhodri Lloyd, 25. Willie Isa, 26. Greg Burke, 27. Nick Gregson, 28. Jake Shorrocks, 29. Joe Bretherton, 30. Jack Higginson, 31. Gabriel Fell, 32. Luke Waterworth.