Goulding departs in Wigan Warriors youth revamp

Wigan Warriors have announced a revamp of their youth development structure for next season and beyond.

Darrell Goulding departs the club after two years as head of youth, with Shane Eccles taking over and John Duffy joins Wigan as academy head coach.

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“It has been a really tough decision to leave the club, especially with the love I have," said Goulding.

Shane Eccles and John Duffy at Robin Park

"However, I have recently had my first child and want to spend more time with him as he grows up.

“The club and youth department are in a great place and will only go from strength to strength with some great people and players here.

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“I wish everyone at the club all the very best and thank everyone for their support over the years, especially Ian [Lenagan], Kris [Radlinski] and Matt [Peet].

"I look forward to watching the club as a fan and seeing all the youth players progress in their careers.”

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Goulding's replacement Eccles will manage player progression and the pathway system for young players entering the club at scholarship level, through to the academy and reserve teams.

Eccles has worked within Wigan’s scholarship and academy system since 2015 in a number of roles, from scholarship head coach to academy development manager.

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He led the academy team to Grand Final glory in 2019 and has also been part of the England academy coaching staff, as well as being the head coach for the Lancashire academy team.

The new academy head coach is former Leigh Centurions boss Duffy., who played more than 350 games for Warrington, Salford, Leigh, Chorley, Whitehaven and Widnes.

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Since retiring from playing in 2003, he has taken on head coach roles with Swinton and Featherstone prior to joining Leigh in 2018, and has also had various roles with the Scotland national team.

On the new youth development structure, Warriors coach Matt Peet, said: “Darrell has done a great job of leading the Academy and impacted positively on hundreds of young players in his time at the club.

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"We wish him well for the future and thank him for his hard work and dedication. He should be really proud.

“Shane is perfectly positioned to lead the department to another level having worked so hard in a range of roles in player development.

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"He is an excellent communicator, coach and teacher. He is already a highly valued member of our team and his new role emphasises that.

“John brings to Wigan a wealth of experience and a passion for helping players maximise their talents.

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"Personally, I am really excited to share ideas with John, and I know his expertise and work ethic will benefit the club, coaching team and ultimately our players.

“I am delighted that the club continues to invest in the academy – underlining our ethos of developing home grown talent as a priority.”

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On joining Wigan, Duffy said: “I’m absolutely over the moon to be joining Wigan Warriors. I can’t wait to start my role and meet the players and staff.

"I’m excited to be working with the best young players in the country – developing them into Wigan first-team players, along with helping them fulfil their educational opportunities.

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"I would like to thank Ian [Lenagan], Kris [Radlinski], Matty [Peet] and Shane [Eccles] for giving me this opportunity.”