Wigan Warriors: James McDonnell says he has grown in confidence while on loan with Leigh Centurions

Wigan Warriors’ James McDonnell says he has really benefited from his time on loan with Leigh Centurions.

By Amos Wynn
Wednesday, 11th May 2022, 4:55 am

The 22-year-old has been playing for Adrian Lam’s side in the Championship, with two tries under his belt so far this season.

McDonnell says he has experienced plenty of positives during his time with the Centurions.

He said: “It’s benefiting me massively. If I was to play for Wigan in a steady run of games this year, then it would come off the back of playing for Leigh. I need this consistent type of rugby, with a good squad, to keep me ready.

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James McDonnell is currently on loan with Leigh Centurions

The Championship is a really good level. I’m playing in the middle so I’m getting some physicality, which will get me ready for Super League because it’s getting my body accustomed to it.

“I’m in a squad that’s very promising that is making a push for promotion, so when you are winning games with a great group of lads it’s just bettering me.

“It’s been good to get a few tries. I scored a few in my younger days but they have sort of dried up. The coaches have said I should draw confidence from it and not be satisfied, in order to develop in that try-scoring role.

“I’m also getting match fitness, instead of going weeks without games and then suddenly having to play.

“I feel like every week I’m just growing a bit in confidence because I’m finding my feet. It allows me to go into my next game clear in my head knowing what I need to do.

“I know how competitive it is to get into that Wigan team, especially with two international back-rowers already playing there, so I knew this was something I might have to do. I dabbled a bit last year, so I was keen to go out.

“Matty (Peet) was happy for me to go when the option came along to join Leigh, because I just wanted to play. I felt like it was a really good fit for me because I know Adrian Lam and the coaching staff.”

McDonnell says it’s good to work with the former Wigan Warriors head coach, who handed him his first team debut.

“There are a few familiar faces,” he added.

“I got on well with Lammy, I was in the full-time system with him for two years. He’s coached me throughout my professional career, so I know what kind of player he wants, which is someone who is no-nonsense and aggressive.

“There’s also Clubby (Tony Clubb), who I played in his last game with last year, and Paul Johnson, so I’ve fitted right in.

“They are all doing what is best for me and my development. They’re okay if Wigan need me and call me back.”

McDonnell says it was good to be recalled to the Wigan squad for the Easter period, even though he didn’t play.

He will hope to feature this Thursday against Huddersfield Giants, after once again being included.

“They’re always watching my performances,” he said.

“I understand that if and when I’m needed, I will be called upon. It was unfortunate that I didn’t feature but as long as I know that I’m in line to get back in that squad then I’ll be staying ready.”