Matty Peet explains why Wigan Warriors had to let Sam Halsall go and discusses the youngsters he's got high hopes for in 2023

Matty Peet says it’s been difficult to see a number of players leave Wigan Warriors during the off-season but is excited by some of the talent coming through.

Sam Halsall is among the players who have departed the club, with the 21-year-old linking-up with Huddersfield Giants as part of the deal which saw Jake Wardle move in the opposite direction.

Peet states sometimes tough decisions need to be made in order to improve.

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He said: “It’s important to say that we are sad to see Sam (Halsall) go.

Matty Peet

“He’s a good lad and a good player. In an ideal world as a coach and as a club you’d love to keep all your players, but the fact is we needed something to make the deal happen and Huddersfield wanted Sam.

“It was a difficult decision to make but one that we feel can help take us to the next level.

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“You want to keep juniors like Sam but sometimes you have to make a sacrifice to take the team forward.

“Huddersfield didn’t have to let Jake (Wardle), we needed to have something to make them do that. Other clubs were competing for his signature as well, so we needed to have the best offer.

Zach Eckersley is among the players Matty Peet has high hopes for in 2023

“I’m looking forward to seeing Sam develop as a player at Huddersfield. Everyone has spoken highly of him. He was a well-liked member of the group, he’s a good kid from a good family.

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“He will remain a friend of ours and is someone we really want to succeed.

“We’re not letting him go because we don’t think he’s good enough, it’s just because that’s what it takes to get the player we wanted.

“I’ve known some of these players since they were 12/13-years-old and it’s quite sad to see them leave, but you take heart from knowing that they are good men who have added a lot to the club.

“They are good players who will go and make really good careers for themselves, so you take pride in that.

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“Part of the challenge for us as a club is getting the balance right in the squad, and sometimes that means shuffling the pack to make acquisitions to add to the team and the culture.

“We’re a good team now and we want to get better, so you’ve got to make some important decisions.

“We’ve got to be looking at signings that will take us to the next level.

“It’s clear that we’ve sacrificed in numbers and depth, but if you want to add quality then that’s what you’ve got to do, it’s a salary cap sport.

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“When we were making this decision, it’s important to say we’ve got high expectations for Zach Eckersley, because this bumps him up.

“He’s a player we think has got really good potential, and we will be working hard with him in pre-season to make sure he’s ready to go as well.

“He had a few injuries last year but has worked hard in the gym.

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“Him, Harvie Hill and Junior Nsemba are genuine members of our first team squad. You can put Tom Forber in that bracket as well.

“There’s going to be a big emphasis on these guys in pre-season.

"Part of John Duffy’s remit, along with the rest of the coaches will be upskilling these lads, getting them physically ready and prepared to handle Super League because I expect them to play.

“Junior (Nsemba) showed great promise last year and developed well, while Harvie (Hill) had the England Knights experience.

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“There’s plenty of excitement around them, it’s just about making sure they work hard to fulfil it.

“You also always have an eye on the market, and looking at any potential opportunities, but the fact is we’ve got a squad at the moment that is expensive.”