Wigan Warriors take it up to 11 with record number of representatives!

Kris Radlinski hailed the ‘outstanding pathways’ being provided after Wigan Warriors confirmed a record number of teams will represent the Cherry and Whites in the club’s 150th year - including a new touch rugby team.
Wigan Warriors will have a record 11 teams representing them in 2022Wigan Warriors will have a record 11 teams representing them in 2022
Wigan Warriors will have a record 11 teams representing them in 2022

First-team head coach Matty Peet is preparing for his opening season in charge of the Warriors, along with the new coaching team consisting of Lee Briers, Sean O’Loughlin, with Shaun Wane as leadership and management director.

Next year will see the return of reserves, alongside an academy competition.

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The plan is for the two competitions to be played on alternate weeks through the season, making a likely maximum of 16 rounds in each, with play-off series to determine the champions in each grade, creating high-pressure matches which will aid players’ development.

Adding to Wigan’s academy is the scholarship squad with 18 new Under-15s signings for next year. Overall, there are 37 players in the Scholarship system and 25 in the academy.

Since 2018 the Warriors have added a women’s, physical disability and learning disability rugby league teams, as well as most recently launching wheelchair and touch rugby teams.

The women’s team won the Women’s Super League in their first year and will enter their fourth full season in 2022 as well as having a women’s academy to help develop younger players.

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The PDRL and LDRL teams are quickly growing too, with the club hosting a number of festivals for our disability Rugby League teams, including one on the DW Stadium pitch prior to a first team game back in September.

In 2021 – in an addition to the club’s disability teams – the Warriors announced a wheelchair team, offering more competition in the Wheelchair Super League.

The league has been extended from six to eight teams for the upcoming season, with Wigan being successful in a Community Foundation bid for funding from the Rugby League World Cup Legacy fund.

The Warriors have used the funds to provide additional wheelchairs for the team, with training taking place every Wednesday.

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The club have also announced the latest addition of a touch rugby team.

Playing fixtures at festivals across the country, ‘Wigan Touch Warriors’ are currently one of the top ranked touch rugby teams in the country and are national champions.

For the past three months, the team have been supporting the Community Foundation’s Touch Rugby programme and, following successful sessions, the Foundation have formed a partnership with the team.

The final team to represent Wigan in 2022 will be the Warriors College Development Squad.

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Alongside the sports-based courses on offer, Wigan Warriors Education Academy allows students to put their boots on, take to the field to develop their rugby league skills and represent the club.

Boys and girls aged 16-18 have the chance to participate in a Category 3 high-performance training programme alongside weekly games in the North West and Yorkshire Colleges League run by the RFL.

“We are delighted to be actively increasing the opportunities that are available for members of the community and aspiring professional players to be involved in rugby league,” said executive director Radlinski.

“As a sport and as a club we are very focused on being inclusive in all that we deliver.

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“Across the 11 teams we now provide outstanding pathways that allows both participation and development opportunities for the individuals involved.

“It’s an exciting time for the development of rugby league and building further capacity in this area is very much at the forefront of our plans for 2022 and beyond.

“Even though 2021 was difficult, one of the highlights for me was seeing the LDRL team playing at the DW Stadium.

“It was something that the players will not forget, and neither will I. In addition to the playing opportunities, people can get involved in different ways to support the teams.

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“This may be from a sponsorship or a volunteering point of view but definitely from a supporting point of view.”

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