PAT Richards has opened talks about extending his stay at Wigan.
The goal-kicking winger is out of contract at the end of this season and Michael Maguire revealed he is keen to keep him at the Warriors.
The club recently handed out new long-term deals to Sam and Joel Tomkins, Liam Farrell, Josh Charnley, Darrell Goulding and Harrison Hansen, and Maguire hopes to back that up by tying Richards to the club beyond the end of 2011.
Richards, who joined Wigan in 2006 from Wests Tigers, is currently recovering from an Achilles injury he suffered in the Grand Final triumph against St Helens last October.
Maguire [left] said: “It’s ongoing with Pat, but he is a big part of what we do here. He’s a quality player and a quality bloke and he is definitely a player I want in my team.”
Maguire is delighted that six home-grown players last week pledged their futures to the club.
The former Melbourne assistant coach said: “What I learned from the past is that Cameron Smith and Billy Slater were the core of what Melbourne were about, and the stability they provide is very important for continued success. It’s a similar thing here with these blokes.
“They’re the core of the team and they’re a major part of what we’re doing here.”
The decision by the Tomkins brothers to sign new five-year deals grabbed the headlines but Farrell and Charnley have also committed their futures to the club for the same length of time.
And Maguire added: “I’ve got high hopes for both of those players. Liam was one of the best players on the park against Warrington in our friendly the other night, and then Josh came on and showed what he can do.
“They’re both very exciting players.
“With Darrell and Harrison signing new deals too, it’s great for the future of this club.”