The 18th Man Column part II: Club culture in the spotlight
Warriors fans have their say
GB coach Wayne Bennett is in town. Do you expect any non-England qualified players to be picked – and does it matter if not?
Jeanette Lusher: The players previously chosen to represent England hold Wayne Bennett in the highest respect and have every confidence in his judgement. Wayne will assuredly select, in his considered opinion, the best players for the job and should this be an all English squad then so be it. I am however certain that Lachlan Coote will be selected but feel it would also be worth considering the likes of Ben Flower, Rhys Williams, Matty Russell, Lewis Tierney and Luke Douglas.
Robert Kenyon: I would have said the only real non-English player to be picked would have been Ben Flower, I’m not counting the ones who had haggis once and qualified for Scotland. The Sky pundits talk up Regan Grace but he would get snapped in half if he played against Australia or New Zealand. Other than that there’s Danny McBrough who’s not the player he once was, I wouldn’t have him in the GB squad, and that’s about it. I’m not having Blake Austin or Lachlan Coote, I’m not having it that a player who doesn’t get picked for Australia can just pick England, that puts us as a second tier national side and we are better than that. So for me, Ben Flower.
Jon Lyon: First and foremost players should be picked on form, and in their correct positions. There’s no point picking token Welshmen, Irishmen and Scotsmen only to justify that we’re now called Great Britain. If our best 25 players all happen to be English then so be it. On form, the only person to represent the other three countries who should be picked is Lachlan Coote. However, I believe we shouldn’t be picking the likes of Coote, Blake Austin and Jackson Hastings.
They may well qualify to play, but if we fill our team with Australian-born players then when, not if, we finally beat the Aussies I feel the victory will be slightly hollow if it’s not with a team of English, or Great Britain born players.
Darren Wrudd: I could wholeheartedly expect that there may be a couple of England players dropped by the new Great Britain coach.
Bennett is a man who will concentrate on form and the form players in Super League don’t necessarily come from our squad in 2019.
Although no doubt involved with the overall squad, I can see some surprises on the horizon.
In real terms I don’t think it really matters to us and could perhaps help our cause if a couple of our best were left out of the squad and could have a rest.
Sean Lawless: I think Wayne Bennett will be consistent with his selection as he has been over the past few years, I don’t expect to see any heritage players making it into the squad. The addition of a Jackson Hastings or Blake Austin would be great, but at the expense of a George Williams – I don’t think that Bennett will go down that route.
Does Taulima Tautai’s drink-drive conviction suggest the club’s culture needs, as Sky’s Barrie
McDermott reckons, ‘a bit of adjustment’?
Jeanette Lusher: Ian Lenagan and Kris Radlinski are both men of high integrity and share a desire to promote rugby league and Wigan in the most favourable light. Their expectations are very high and measures are in place at the club to support all staff in achieving the set standards. One only has to look at all of the community commitments engaged in by the club to appreciate what takes priority at Wigan!
The testimony at Wigan has and always will be that before they look for a good player, they look for a good person!
It is indeed sad that Taulima along with others have let themselves and the club down so badly but the decision to do so was theirs and theirs alone. The club can only guide but the player has to deliver.
For Barrie McDermott to suggest it is the club culture at fault is an injustice to the very high percentage of Wigan players who are so devoted and beyond exemplary in their dealings. I ask myself would Barrie have been so effusive if it had been any other club than Wigan? Somehow, I rather think not.
Robert Kenyon: A bit of an adjustment is an understatement, it needs a complete overhaul.
I’m sick of being the laughing stock of the league with what our players are getting up to, I’m embarrassed by it all. Not since 2006 have things been this bad on and off the pitch, in fact I’d say off the pitch this is the worst I’ve known this past 12 months.
The difference with the 2006 season was the only positive was things were taken care of and quickly. People left and people joined fairly quickly but this season, there’s nothing and the club haven’t been very forthcoming with information. There’s a million and one questions need answering about the club at the minute and whoever is in charge needs to sort things out pronto.
This isn’t me or other fans being impatient or anything, this is fans being cheesed off we are being taken for mugs. What’s happening about Williams? They’re saying he’s signed sealed and delivered for Canberra on Australian TV and the word on the street is he’s gone, so why isn’t the club telling us? Also who is our coach next year? Whoever it is needs to be announced and quickly, and whoever that may be needs to stop all this nonsense and the club needs to engage with the fans a lot more. I for one feel as though we are being taken for granted with the quality on the pitch, behaviour off the pitch and leadership and communication from the club.
Jon Lyon: It’s all too easy to blame the club in these instances.
The default setting for some fans seems to be that everything is Ian Lenagan and Kris Radlinski’s fault. I find it hard to believe after what has happened with Hardaker, Mullen and Hamlin that the players haven’t repeatedly had their responsibilities rammed down their throats.
Drink driving, and taking drugs, is an individual choice and the players sole responsibility. The club can’t babysit the players 24/7.
Whilst there is no defence for what Tautai has done, I hope this isn’t the defining moment Wigan fans will remember him for.
Both Taulima and his wife have done an incredible amount of charity work in the local community during his time at Wigan, and this should be his legacy here, not a stupid, yet dangerous, mistake.
Darren Wrudd: Barrie McDermott does not have a clue what he is talking about, but then he is paid by Sky to say something so he has to fill the void somehow. I am so sick and tired of people saying this when they know nothing of the club culture, just the headlines.
Even some of our own so called fans are having a pop whilst hiding behind anonymous twitter names, very brave eh?
The culture that is driven hard at Wigan is of the highest quality and yet young men make bad decisions on their own time.
McDermott should perhaps consider his own past before he throws the first stone from his current lofty position.
Sean Lawless: There is only so many times you can deny a culture issue until it starts to become a bit silly, too many issues have been raised this season for Wigan to not recognise that there is or has been a problem.
However, I do believe Kris Radlinski will and is, with the recruitment and retainment for 2020 get the problems eradicated. Hopefully this is the last incident in a very long line of them!