The 18th Man...Fans react to Wigan Warriors' recruitment for next year
Wigan Warriors fans have their say on what their team needs ahead of next season's Super League.
Props Kaide Ellis and Patrick Mago and winger Abbas Miski have signed for Wigan with Leigh centre Iain Thornley set to follow. What do you make of Wigan’s recruitment for next year?
Sean Lawless: Wigan’s recruitment to date, is a good foundation for next season but they are missing a player with the X factor to really convince fans.
The two obvious positions still up for grabs from recruitment are centre and half-back, a big name is needed for either.
A Joey Leilua or Konrad Hurrell, who both seem to be available for the 2022 season, would be a nice change in the centre position.
The concern for me would be if we went into the season with Harry Smith and Jai Field as our half back options, they need some challenge from a newer signing, even if it was a Jacob Miller type player.
Robert Kenyon: I thought Thornley did alright in his time here, I don’t think he’s a creative centre, more of a big athletic body in the centres, I’m fine with signing him back, I welcome it.
I don’t know much about Abbas Miski so I can’t comment.
But we are in desperate need of a set of metre-making props, we need at the very least two who can make over 100m a game for starters, then we supplement them with an impact/offloading type of prop.
For some reason we keep going for the impact style props but they must have been told not to offload as our stats for offloads from our props are the lowest in the league.
I did look at the stats for Patrick Mago - average 54m a game with five hit ups and Kaide Ellis average 32m a game with an average of three hit ups and those stats are not good enough, I’m sorry.
I’d have loved for us to have signed Ryan Sutton, average 124m a game and 13 hit ups, Aaron Woods 120m and 12 hit ups or Aidan Tolman average 115m a game and 13 hit ups.
I know we can’t go and sign Fisher-Harris, JWH, Haas, Welch, or any of the rep players but Woods and Tolman are at the back end of their careers, Sutton’s a Wigan lad. We could have even took a punt on Renouf Atoni average 93m and eight hit ups or Corey Jensen 88m and seven hit ups.
All I’ll say is whoever we sign needs to pull their fingers out and eat up those metres.
Darren Wrudd: Often it seems that Wigan’s recruitment plans for the following year are cards kept close to the chest.
Little is leaked and even confirmation or denials are hard to come by.
This year however it is an early statement of intent by the release of three names added to our roster for 2022.
This I think says something of how important the fan’s perception is in the club’s eyes and with standards and expectations so high it puts down a marker.
The two forwards will certainly add some dynamic energy to the pack and this is often what we are missing. Thornley is a big unit and should easily fill the gap left by Gildart’s departing but I have not seen Miski play beyond some Youtube clips. He does look exciting though and so I am quite excited to see them all here at Wigan.
I suppose we are all waiting for that special signing, that Trent Barrett or Steve Renouf, the box office name to glue everything together. Now that could be a late addition worth waiting for.
Jon Lyon: It’s a tough question to answer because in truth I know nothing about three of them.
I’ve watched the NRL matches on Sky this year and I don’t know if Mago and Ellis have been playing or not but if they have then they haven’t particularly stood out to me. Miski seems to have a good scoring record at London and appears to be highly rated.
Thornley certainly looks a better player than the one who left Wigan and I’m keen to see what he can bring.
They aren’t the big name signings I guess a lot of fans are hoping for but let’s be honest, big names don’t always work out.
I’m sure all Wigan fans are still scarred by the disappointment that was Frank-Paul “the wrecking ball” Nu’uausala, and Greg Inglis hadn’t exactly been a roaring success over at Warrington.
Rather than be negative towards the players or critical of the club, I’ll judge their success based solely on how they perform for Wigan.
Let us not forget Michael Dobson was a third choice half back at Canberra when we brought him over in 2006 and he almost single handedly saved us from relegation. These lads could well turn out to be fantastic signings so let’s give them a chance.
Without getting too political... how do you feel about returning to live games without Covid restrictions on crowds?
Sean Lawless: The restrictions being lifted will be a big boost for the clubs in regards to getting casual fans back to the grounds but also getting some normality in regards to selling food and drinks in the stadiums.
If the past 18 months is anything to go from, we need to enjoy the lifting of restrictions whilst we can, you never know what is around the corner!
Robert Kenyon: It’s farcical. Lots of people who went to Wembley for the Euro final caught it there, also my mate has tested positive after going for the Challenge Cup and that was with restrictions.
We don’t have full to capacity stadiums in rugby league so its up to the clubs to lead on this issue to spread the fans out.
If you throw caution to the wind there will be some fans vote with their feet.
It’s no great hardship if the club said, ‘Wear a mask unless you are in your seat’ or something like that, and then spread the fans out around the ground like they have, everyone’s a winner.
End of the day in life you are either a leader or a follower, as a club and sport we need to lead and look out for our fans health and well-being.
Darren Wrudd: I know we are all facing the same issues here but there are simply so many different views to it. Personally I am still quite worried about the whole situation.
With Covid rates increasing at an alarming rate, is it too much to ask fans to wear a mask to protect one another?
I don’t think so, but in the same breath many will welcome the chance to take off their shackles and have a night out no matter whom they may put at risk.
All I would say is to please respect one another, no matter what your view on social distance. We are all here for the same reason, to cheer on our team, so lets do so united under an umbrella of social understanding and tolerance.
Keep safe and help others to do so as well.
Jon Lyon: I have no qualms about coming back to a partially or completely full stadium.
Unfortunately due to work I have been unable to get to a live game this year but from August onwards am hoping to be at every home game at least. My preference would be to not have to wear a mask in my seat but if it makes others feel safer and more comfortable then I’m happy to wear one if that ends up being the clubs preferred policy.
The most important thing is being able to watch Wigan live again, feel the atmosphere in the stadium, meet old friends and hopefully watch Wigan improve as the season progresses.
Wigan host Wakefield tomorrow night... a third straight win on the cards?
Sean Lawless: This run of games is crucial for Wigan, on the run-in to the play-offs, crucial for form but mainly the points to get as close to the top two as possible.
This season is going to be difficult but we need to make the play offs as manageable as we can to give ourselves a chance when players like Field, Hardaker, Bateman etc return.
I expect Wigan to win against Wakefield and build on what was the start of a promising performance against Huddersfield last time out.
Robert Kenyon: Its easier said than done, Wakefield are a good side and we are still not clicking right, so we would have to do it the hard way.
They beat us the last time we played so we cant take them for granted.
Wakefield will be without Joe Westerman but welcome back Ryan Hampshire who always wants to put a show on when he plays us and Joe Arundel, Tom Johnstone and Bill Tupou are out for the season who are threats with the Wakefield side.
After beating Huddersfield that should give us an injection of confidence to take into the next game.
Darren Wrudd: Wakefield have a really good squad and are well coached by Chris Chester.
His work ethic has obviously improved since his playing days here when I thought he often looked uninterested. His players are well drilled and enthusiastic so we will need to meet them with the same go forward or we will get burned.
Hopefully the squad will look a little more mature and with some players back I suspect we will have too much for them this time.
We need to string wins together and this period is a great chance to consolidate our position after some difficult recent weeks.
Jon Lyon: A very confident yes. Having lost to Wakefield only a few weeks ago we certainly owe them one.
Having Jackson Hastings back will make a huge difference and the big question is where will he play?
I thought Hanley did well enough to keep the fullback spot but Lammy may well go for experience again and put Jackson back in at number one.
The potential return also of Powell, Bullock, Byrne and Isa really bolsters our forwards, which we will need against a sizeable Wakefield pack who will be reeling from the loss of Westerman who is self isolating.
All of these changes are hugely positive in our favour as we look to build momentum into the business part of the season.
The Gildart, Farrell, Marshall combination will only get better with every game and with our defence
tightening up considerably the last few weeks we should approach the game with nothing but confidence.
Hopefully we start well (for once) and don’t have to play catch up.
I’ll go for a 22-12 win with a Ginger Pearl hat trick, no pressure Faz!