Plans for a home game in London are ‘progressing’

Liam Paisley scores during the game between London Skolars and Wigan Warriors
Liam Paisley scores during the game between London Skolars and Wigan Warriors

WIGAN’S plans to stage a Super League game in London are “progressing”.

And chairman Ian Lenagan is growing more confident it may take place as early as this year.

Lenagan had previously admitted the Warriors were “considering” moving one of their home fixtures to the capital.

And now, the ex-London Broncos owner said: “I would say my confidence that it will happen this year is at 65 per cent right now.

“The discussions will take a while with the RFL, but it’s progressing.”

He was in London last Friday as a young Warriors line-up took on London Skolars in the heart of the city (inset below) – reaffirming his belief there is great potential to grow the club’s brand, and rugby league as a whole, in London.

Warriors recently tied up a lucrative sponsorship deal with city traders CWM FX, which saw stars including Josh Charnley attend the London Boat Show.

“A game is only part of our overall ambition to expand our profile in and around London,” said Lenagan, who has mentioned Fulham or QPR as potential venues for an ‘on the road’ game.

“It’s an important market for us.”

Other sports clubs have taken home games on the road, with NRL outfits Souths Sydney (Perth) and Canterbury Bulldogs (Mackay) moving matches within Australia, while several American Football franchises have played regular season games to packed crowds at Wembley Stadium. With London Broncos relegated to the Championship, a Warriors game in the capital would help give Super League a presence there – even if it is only for one weekend.

Lenagan says no fixture or date has been selected but it is expected to be a high-profile encounter.

Wigan only have one scheduled home tie against a fellow ‘big four’ club throughout May, June and July – against Leeds on July 9.

But they are likely to face top opposition during the ‘Super 8s’ stage of the season, throughout August and early September – though that would be close to the Challenge Cup Final at Wembley on August 29.

During the ‘Super 8s’ stage, clubs play an additional seven fixtures – with either four or three home games, depending on where they are positioned in the table.

Lenagan was speaking to the Evening Post ahead of a fans’ forum at the DW Stadium tonight, when he will outline his club’s future plans and take questions from supporters.

Some fans may be keen to learn if he comments about Joe Burgess’ future.

The winger – out of contract at the end of this season – is thought to have tied up a move to NRL outfit Sydney Roosters for 2016, but Warriors have made no public comment.