Shaun Wane has plans to hand out another debut to a home-grown star when Wigan host Castleford on Friday evening.
But the coach won’t reveal the identity of his latest newcomer...because he hasn’t told the player’s parents yet!
Since taking over as head coach in 2012, Wane has developed a reputation for bringing academy products into the first team, and he insists it was never a policy he had planned.
“I’ve not set out to do it – I just get good talent, and it means a lot when a lad comes to our system to play for us, and we create a very proud mentality to play for this club,” he said.
“We’re going to give another debut out this week and he’s come through our system, playing with our coaches.
“I’m giving a debut out this week to a Wigan kid and that excites me just as much, if not more (than overseas talent in Super League).
“I’m not sure his parents know and I don’t want to spoil it but it’s going to be one of our young kids.”
Wane has handed 40 debuts to academy players since taking over as head coach, with many of those academy stars making a name for themselves in the first team, such as Ryan
Sutton, Oliver Gildart and Liam Marshall.
And new players understanding the history of the club is something Wane says is very important to him.
“ I do lots and lots of meetings and explain the history of this club,” he explained.
“When I first arrived it was not spoken about on purpose because it was viewed that it put too much pressure on the players, but I think that’s absolute rubbish.
“You should be proud of what your history is and we have a great history, so I give to my players as much history and about the club they represent as I can.
“I’m very proud to coach it and they should be proud to play their part in their own history. It’s very special to me.”
While keeping the identity of his newest first-teamer close to his chest, Wane admitted he still gets a buzz from telling youngsters they are about to get a first team shirt – and heritage number – at the club.
“I enjoy it. When I told this particular player he’s playing – I’d never seen a smile on a kid before, and I’ve done it 40-odd times – so this was particularly pleasing this one,” he acknowledged.
“I love it and all the players love it. People who haven’t come through our system like Ben Flower and Tony Clubb, they understand what it means and they get excited by it as well.”
In a week where focus has been placed on the state of rugby league’s reserves system, with only Wigan and Wakefield running teams in Super League at that level, Wane’s record has been a frequent topic of conversations.
And he admits seeing Wiganers run out for his team gives him just as much of a buzz as seeing star names in the competition.
“Ben Barba is an example of a great, great player in this competition and by all means bring them in, “ he said.
“But I get just as excited bringing local kids through as well as having talent like Sean O’Loughlin and Sam Tomkins.
“You have some great players in our competition, and they get some plaudits – but whether they (local lads) get enough, I’m not sure.”