Warriors take inspiration from Andy Reid

Warriors coach Shaun Wane with Andy Reid
Warriors coach Shaun Wane with Andy Reid

PLAYERS and coaches have said success makes them hungrier for more.

In terms of the Challenge Cup, that should mean Wigan are the hungriest of the lot when they begin their search for a 20th triumph this season.

He was a great leader and led by example and worked in a great team. When times were hard he just made things happen

Matty Smith

In this category, Warriors fans need no reminding their club’s status as cup kings will take a long time to conquer, but Shaun Wane has taken steps this week to make sure his players make the most of life’s opportunities.

Corporal Andy Reid addressed the squad on Tuesday morning. Once an ordinary soldier, he nearly died when he was blown up by a Taliban improvised explosive device in 2009 while serving in the Helmand Province.

Reid’s story hit Wane hard – and the coach hopes Warriors will be inspired by how the soldier responded to the hand he was dealt.

“It was eye opening,” said Wane.

“It really puts things into perspective, and reminded them that they’re in a very privileged position to play the game they love for the club they love.

“He was a very inspiring man.”

Reid was evacuated to hospital in the UK, having lost both legs and his left arm.

But he bit back and after having prosthetic legs fitted at Defence Rehabilitation Centre, he gave his time to service charities, cycled from Land’s End to John O’Groats, skydived, and became a husband to his fiancee Claire.

“It had the effect that anything is possible,” said Wane.

“He lost both legs and still walked down the aisle with prosthetics, even after complications, and done all sorts of challenges which you wouldn’t think possible.

“But he didn’t moan, it was a reminder to everyone to put life into perspective – and in terms of this week I think it will make them hungry to get what they can, and make the most of the chances in front of them.”

Reid was struck just ten days before the end of his tour in Afghanistan. He had previously served in Northern Ireland, Kosovo and Iraq.

Wane added: “I met Andy a little while back at a Wigan Youth Zone event and was really impacted by the way he spoke. He has a really positive attitude despite everything he has been through and I wanted my players to hear from him.

“I want the best for them on the pitch as a rugby league player and off it as a human being and I wanted them to listen to Andy’s story and be inspired by it which is why I set this up.”

The Warriors players listened to a 45 minute talk from Andy about his time in the Army and the challenges he has overcome since 2009.

Wigan player Matty Smith said: “I’ve met Andy a few times actually and he’s very inspiring. We’re dodging tackles out on the pitch but the army lads are out there dodging bullets.

“He was a great leader and led by example and worked in a great team. When times were hard he just made things happen and we can all learn a lot from Andy. I’ve bought his book and I’m really looking forward to reading it.”

Speaking after talking to the Wigan players, Andy said: “It’s fantastic to be able to speak to the Wigan team. The Army and Rugby League have a lot in common. You’re out there with your mates and want to look after them. Both also set high standards and no matter what happens you have to meet those standards.

“The lads were great, they were really tuned in to what I had to say and came up with some great questions too.”

To find out more information on Andy visit www.andyreid.org to contact Andy regarding a motivational talk to your team or work colleagues please emailandy@andyreid.org

For more information on the Royal British Legion who spend £1.2m per week looking after former soldiers, visit www.britishlegion.org.uk