MANY of Wigan’s players were expected to report back for training today.
The punishing pre-season schedule does not officially begin until next week. But members of the first-team squad have been given the option of returning early – and assistant coach Paul Deacon reckons they will be keen to start preparing for the 2013 season.
He said: “This is an optional training week, but I’d expect many to be there – and that’s down to the hunger of the players.
“It’ll be mainly gym-based but we’ll get them out to do a few ball sessions later in the week, before it begins properly next Monday.”
The club’s contingent of players and coaches from Wales, England Knights and England have been given extra time off. Wigan’s last match was the play-off defeat against Leeds at the end of September.
“It comes around quick, I know what these pre-seasons are like – they’re the worst part of the year for the players,” said Deacon, a former Great Britain halfback who hung up his boots 12 months ago to become a full-time member of the Warriors coaching staff.
“You train hard and at the end of the week there’s no game to aim for. But it’s got to be done because it provides the base for the rest of the season, and you do feel the benefit.”
Deacon has been running the water for England during the autumn international series, though he is not a member of the international coaching staff.
The last of those games saw England beat France 44-6 at Hull KR’s Craven Park, with Sam Tomkins bagging a double to set a new try-scoring record.
His Warriors team-mate Gareth Hock was named man of the match by the BBC despite a below-par display from the blockbusting forward, and cynics suggested he was given the award so he could be asked about his link with Parramatta.
Hock has previously refused to speak about a possible move to the NRL next season, and wouldn’t be drawn on questions on camera.
Afterwards, he dodged reporters outside the Craven Park dressing room – when a well-timed phone call allowed him to breeze past the press pack towards the team coach.