Wigan chief waxes lyrical over Warriors' young talent as he tips starlet to help 'shape future of the club'

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Thanks to his charisma and quality, Junior Nsemba was loved by all at the Warriors before he'd even played a senior game, and will undoubtedly form a key part of the next generations of superstars shaping the future of the club.

That’s according to Wigan chief executive Kris Radlinski, who has praised the club’s rising star with a nod to the training facilities at Robin Park which have helped the teenager make a seamless transition into the first-team.

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Nsemba enjoyed a breakthrough year in 2023, making 15 appearances under Matt Peet as Wigan lifted the League Leaders’ Shield and the Super League trophy.

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Junior Nsemba has made eight first-team appearances so far this seasonJunior Nsemba has made eight first-team appearances so far this season
Junior Nsemba has made eight first-team appearances so far this season

And the back-rower continues to impress with his first-team opportunities, recently given a starting spot to replace the injured Willie Isa.

His impressive performances have seen him earn eight Man of Steel points to date, while he celebrated his first Super League try in the victory over Leigh Leopards in the Battle of the Borough.

“Junior was a cult hero before he even played a game,” Radlinski said.

“He’s such an impressive guy.

“He walks into every room like he’s a superstar, and he doesn’t know he’s doing it. His physical presence, he’s humble, he’s well mannered and we’ve got a huge bunch of people like that who are going to shape the future of the club.

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“It’ll come down to the challenge of keeping them all (at the club), but the likes of Harvie Hill has hardly put a foot wrong.

“He’s a great professional and playing in big games.”

Radlinski says the club’s training facilities at Robin Park are playing a big part in helping create the next generation of homegrown talent, with academy products Jack Farrimond, Zach Eckersley and Jacob Douglas all given first-team numbers for the 2024 campaign.

“This facility (Robin Park) is so important because everyone is training here and regularly Matt Peet will pull people out of the academy and into the first-team squad and integrate them in,” Radlinski continued.

“You couldn’t really do that previously over multiple sites. So the inclusivity of this site means that we’re much better connected. A player stepping up is much easier than it’s ever been in the past.

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“What surprises me is when I see players moving up, they’re not fazed by it at all. Reflecting back to my playing career, if I got the nod that I was training with the first-team that day, you’re not sleeping the night before and you’re nervous.

"And potentially, physically you’re not ready for it because you’ve not been on the same kind of programmes and it was a massive step.

“Now, it’s not that big of a step anymore because they’re accessible, because they've got really good conditioning programmes and because of the work that we do with confidence, it’s a very easy step.

“John Duffy does a wonderful job managing transitions, and then Shane Eccles and Joel Tomkins are really impressive guys doing a wonderful job. There are some good systems put in place which are helping with the programme.”

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