Wigan Warriors first team stars discuss the impact they hope to have with the club's community initiative
Wigan players have emphasised the importance of the community work they do through the Warriors Together campaign.
The club has headed out to a range of places across the town throughout the last few months.
On a recent visit to Hawkley Hall High School, members of the first team discussed the reasons behind the initiative.
Liam Marshall said: “It’s a big thing Matty (Peet) has brought in.
“Days like this are really good, just coming into the schools and getting involved.
“It really gives a bit back. Hopefully we’ll get a few of these boys and girls coming down to watch us when the season starts.
“I think it helps everyone, so it’s a plus for those involved.
“When I was a kid we didn’t get too much of this in schools, but I remember going to Wigan camps and bumping into players at presentations.
“You were always a bit in awe of them, and it really made you want to be like them.
“Hopefully we’ve had a little impact because it is massive for Wigan as a town.”
“It reminds me of back when I was in school,” Toby King added.
“I used to love playing rugby with my mates, you can’t beat it, they were the best days of my life.
“We didn’t really have anything like this, you know, eight players coming down to coach.
“The kids really love it so it's good to see smiles on their faces.
“It's a brilliant idea and it’s really good that Wigan are doing this.
“Every Friday we go out, visiting different places.
“It’s not just schools, it’s the whole community- it’s class.”
Willie Isa also agrees it is important for the club to give something back.
“It’s good fun, just seeing the kids have a laugh and get competitive,” he stated.
“We’ve all been that age at one stage, so it’s great for them to see that we are accessible, and we just need to make sure we interact.
“We are just making sure we give them a smile and give them a break from whatever they are doing in school.
“If we can help someone then we’ve done our job properly, so it’s great to do.”
Andy Duncalf of Hawkley Hall High School admits the impact of player visits can be huge for pupils at local schools.
He said: “We’re quite privileged at Hawkley Hall to have the players coming down.
“We’ve got a fantastic relationship with the community foundation, and having coaches coming on a weekly basis.
“This is all on the back of what we’ve achieved in the last 18 months.
“Stuff like this is second to none, because when we let the pupils know they were visibly excited to be with the players.
“The one thing I’ll say about the players is, their interaction is absolutely exceptional because they get involved and have a laugh.
“In terms of inspiration, some of our players are on scholarships at the club and that pathway is visible.
“Through the community foundation and initiatives at the school a number of pupils have started playing.
“We’ve got a brand new girls group, where nine or 10 of them hadn’t touched a rugby ball before, so it just gives them that pathway to start on what the journey might become.”