Wigan Warriors: John Winder says he enjoys seeing the progression of the players he's worked with
Former Wigan Warriors assistant coach John Winder says he enjoys looking back on the progression of the young players who he has worked with.
During his time with the first team, working under both Shaun Wane and Adrian Lam, he helped a number of players make the step up.
Winder pinpoints this as a highlight from his time as the club’s assistant, alongside the trophy successes.
He said: “There were lots of examples. Early on in my career, I saw the progression of the likes of George Williams, Lewis Tierney and Joe Burgess.
“There was a game after a Challenge Cup final where we had a lot of young guys in the squad and it was pretty much a Wigan system team. I got a lot of enjoyment out of that.
“The World Club Challenge when we beat Cronulla was a huge highlight, because we spent a lot of time trying to get to that level and win one of those, which was really important.
“Both the Grand Finals in 2016 and 2018 were both monumental achievements. I look back on all of those times.”
During his final two seasons as Wigan’s assistant coach, Winder also had to overcome the challenges presented by the Covid-19 pandemic.
“Everyone has had their own challenges,” he added.
“We were fortunate enough that we could still continue to play and do our work to a large extent, because other people were worse off in lots of ways.
“It was tough to get used to because it kept changing. The experience of having no fans in the stadium was unique and very strange.
“I always noticed it going out for the warm-up, because normally there would be an atmosphere. It felt a bit like a training day.
“Personally, in the game I didn’t really notice that much difference because you are concentrating on the performance and the players. You notice the noise when it’s there, but when it’s not, you're kind of focused on your job.
“Fans love the game, and it was a big part of their lives that was missing. It’s a big part of their lives socially, so it’s nice to have everyone back and have a bit of normality.”