Defence coach Matty Peet has been hailed an unsung hero of Wigan’s recent resurgence.
Peet left his role as the Warriors’ head of youth at the end of the season to switch to a similar role with Sale Sharks.
But he returned to Wigan in the summer, and has added bite to a side which has stormed up the Super League table with nine wins from their last 10 games. And Kiwi halfback Thomas Leuluai says Peet’s influence – both directly and indirectly – has played a big part.
“We’ve tidied up areas where we were clocking off, and our defence has really improved,” said Leuluai.
“Matty Peet has come in and done a good job, and bringing him in has allowed (assistant coach) John Winder to focus more on our attack and that’s improved, too.
“So having an extra coach has made a big impact.”
Peet cut his coaching teeth in the amateur scene at Westhoughton and St Pats before working his way up through the ranks at Wigan.
He said the chance to return to the Warriors with a specific coaching role was too good to refuse.
“As soon as I talked to Kris (Radlinski, executive director) I knew it was the right role for me,” said Peet.
“It was a new challenge because I’ve never had a job which is just coaching.
“As a head of youth and coaching the junior sides, there’s a lot managing staff and speaking to parents, which I really enjoyed.
“But this role allows me to 100 per cent focus on my craft as a coach.”
And Peet says he is enjoying working alongside Adrian Lam, who as well as being Wigan’s head coach is still assistant to Australia boss Mal Meninga.
“I’ve always been one to pick up on new ideas because everyone does things differently,” he said.
“Waney was obviously a big influence on me but I’ve been lucky to work alongside some good coaches – whether that’s Paul Deacon or Michael
Maguire or Iestyn Harris or Lee Briers and Paul Sculthorpe with England, and there are always bits you can take.”
Wigan, third in the ladder and level on points with second-placed Warrington, head to Wakefield on Sunday before finishing the regular campaign with home matches against Catalans and Castleford.