EMOTIONAL Michael Maguire sent a heart-felt thanks to Wigan’s fans as he prepared to fly out of England today.
The Australian and his family – wife Joelle and their children Iyla, Kaden and Eadie – were setting off for a week-long holiday in Dubai this morning.
They then return home where Maguire will begin his new position at NRL sleeping giants Souths Sydney on October 31.
But as he gets ready to open a new chapter in his coaching career, the 37-year-old says he will treasure his memories from his two-year stay in Wigan.
He said: “We’ve had a great time here. Everyone has made us feel so welcome and we’ll never forget the memories we’ve made here.
“It was a massive decision to leave now and it’s been quite emotional saying all the goodbyes. I’m really going to miss the place and I’ll certainly be keeping in touch with people – hopefully I’ll be back soon.”
Maguire transformed Wigan’s fortunes after arriving as a relative-unknown from Melbourne.
After years of being the perennial nearly-men, he guided the Warriors to the top of Super League in his first year in charge on their way to claiming Grand Final glory – their first in 12 years.
And he backed that up this year by steering Wigan to their first Challenge Cup Final victory at Wembley in 16 years.
“That’s been the highlight for me – seeing the boys in the dressing rooms after those big wins, because I know how much work they put in,” said Maguire.
“I felt the hunger during the first pre-season. I felt they wanted to learn things and get better.
“I wasn’t sure of what I was going to get until the games began, it was my first time as a head coach, and I just wanted to improve the group and see where it would take us.
“One thing no-one can take away are the memories we’ve created.
“The memories these boys have got and made, going to Old Trafford and Wembley and some of the big wins along the way, they’ll live with them for the rest of their lives.
“They probably don’t realise it now, but in 10 or 20 years time, their names are going to be talked about like the greats who we talk about now, and I’ll be proud to say I coached those guys.
“Wigan is a great club and the fans are amazing, and I just feel privileged that we’ve been able to create a small piece of history.”