Wane to make a call on new year ‘leaders’

Matty Smith's exit has left a vacant space in the leadership team
Matty Smith's exit has left a vacant space in the leadership team

Shaun Wane has yet to decide who will replace Matty Smith in his leadership team.

But he says he will have no shortage of candidates to step into the senior group, following Smith’s off-season move to St Helens.

Rather than have one vice-captain, Wane uses a leadership team to support skipper Sean O’Loughlin.

“We’re going to run with the leadership team again next year,” confirmed Wane.

“It’s worked well for us, we saw that last season.

“I’ll finalise who will be in it when the England lads are all back (in training), but we’ve got loads of leaders here.

“Matty has obviously gone but there are plenty of players who can come in.”

Smith’s replacement at halfback, Thomas Leuluai, would be an obvious candidate to take on the responsibility.

He was previously in the leadership team when Michael Maguire was coach.

Micky McIlorum, Liam Farrell and the Tomkins brothers, Sam and Joel, are also expected to keep their roles in the group.

Wane also has a wealth of experience in the front-row – Ben Flower, Tony Clubb and Frank-Paul Nuuausala all turn 30 next year.

Wane bounces ideas off the leadership team, uses them for feedback and calls on them to help maintain the culture at the club.

The players also rotate the captaincy when O’Loughlin is missing.