Wigan Warriors on course for success, predicts Ollie Partington
Ollie Partington believes Wigan will be the team to beat in 2021.
The prop has echoed the predictions of John Bateman, who believes the Warriors are well-equipped for a tilt at a clean-sweep of silverware this season.
Partington says the way they surged to the League Leaders’ Shield and Grand Final last season has given him confidence they can start this campaign with a bang.
Throw in the recruitment of Jai Field and Bateman, the development of a clutch of youngsters and a generally settled squad, and he reckons they deserve to start as favourites.
He said: “With Batty coming back and Jai coming it, I think it’s going to be a good season.
“This year we have to be the team to beat with how everyone saw us play last year.
“We really stepped it up and I felt we were unstoppable at times.
"In defence we were so good, teams couldn’t break us down, and we saw that even in the Grand Final.”
St Helens needed a last-second try to win the title-decider 8-4 and, before that, Wigan won their previous five games leaking an average of just one try a match.
Bookmakers and pundits are also predicting Wigan are in for a good season.
Ex-St Helens forward Jon Wilkin said: “For me Wigan are one of the most exciting teams in the competition.
“I didn’t really fancy them last year and they went all the way to the Grand Final. Look out for Wigan.”
Wigan play their first friendly of the year at Salford on Sunday - on the same weekend the NRL returns.
And while many young English players have a burning desire to test themselves Down Under, Partington admits he is quite happy where he is.
The combative front-rower has not ruled out a move to Australia at some stage in his career.
But the 22-year-old Wiganer admits he is living the dream representing his hometown club and his eyes are on lifting a trophy this October, rather than the game 10,000 miles away.
“I’m not one of those who sees the NRL as the be-all and end-all,” said the ex-Orrell St James junior. “If I got an offer at some point of course I’d look at it but it’s not something I’m focused on.
“I love playing for Wigan, I’m happy at Wigan, and my focus is on winning a Grand Final here.”