SHAUN Wane used last week’s Sports Personality of the Year awards to ‘tap up’ other guests!
Wigan’s new head coach was among the rugby league representatives at the BBC’s annual event in Salford.
But rather than take the night off, he took advantage of the star-studded party to make introductions and plant the seeds for potential links in the future.
He said: “I spoke to a few people who seemed really keen to come in and talk to the players next year, which was great.
“I won’t tell you who they are because it won’t surprise the players, but hopefully something will come off.”
He added: “I never miss an opportunity!”
A real student of sports practices, Wane has previously travelled to other clubs and even called on international teams to view their set-ups. Before Christmas he visited the facilities of American Football side Tampa Bay Buccaneers, watched US athlete Tyson Gay train and took his squad to an MMA gym used by UFC fighters.
Wane uses the visits to try and seek a “cutting edge” on Wigan’s Super League opponents – and also realises what impact it can make when sports icons speak to the players.
Last year, for example, Manchester United boss Sir Alex Ferguson visited their training base at Orrell ahead of their Challenge Cup Final against Leeds – and many of the players admitted it helped inspire them to victory.
He plans to continue such practices now he is head coach and hopes his networking at the Sports Personality of the Year event – won by cyclist Mark Cavendish – will come to fruition.
He added: “I’m glad I went. There were a lot of people you see regularly on TV, impressive people like Sir Steve Redgrave.
“And I’m a big golfing fan so, personally, it was great to see blokes like Rory McIlroy and Darren Clarke.”
Wigan’s players are currently enjoying a week-long break before they report back on January 2.
Wane added: “While I want the players to relax I don’t want them to leave where they’re at in terms of fitness.
“I’m confident they won’t – they’re a very professional bunch.”