Kris Radlinski hopes Super League will benefit from the buzz generated by England’s success, despite their disappointing defeat yesterday.
A bumper crowd of 32,186 turned out to watch yesterday’s third and final Test - watched by an expected 1m-plus audience on the BBC.
England – depleted by injuries – lost the dead rubber 34-0 before lifting the Albert Baskerville Shield.
And while England couldn’t get the whitewash, the national side had already secured the series triumph in the same week the fixtures for the 2019 Super League season were released.
After a tough spell in which the politics and structure of rugby league have been hotly-debated in public, Warriors executive director Radlinski is pleased to see the focus is firmly on the stars on the pitch.
And he hopes the feelgood factor generated by England’s series win heightens the anticipation for the new campaign.
“There’s a really positive energy around the game now,” he said. “There have been some stars born in this series. I’ve been a Tommy Makinson fan for five years - he’s always been a player I’ve admired – and it was great to see him score a hat-trick in the second Test at Anfield.
“The fact that Gilly (Oliver Gildart) did what he did on his debut, it’s fantastic for us.
“And it’s not just what’s happened with England and this series but the Knights trip, too. There’s a lot to like right now.”
After a short break, Radlinski and his staff are busily preparing for Wigan’s title defence.
New coach Adrian Lam arrives this week ahead of the start of pre-season, and the club have a new shirt - and main sponsor, though they remain with kit manufacturer Errea - to unveil.
Tickets for their World Club Challenge match against Sydney Roosters go on sale this week, and Wigan are still waiting to discover if Catalans will move their home fixture from Perpignan to Barcelona’s Nou Camp.
Warriors begin their new campaign on January 31 against St Helens.
“Some people’s seasons haven’t finished and we’re already preparing for 2019,” said Radlinski.
“There’s a lot of work to do. We have Saints, Leeds and then the World Club and so it gives the start of the season a real focus.”
Meanwhile, fringe three-quarter Jack Higginson - who made three appearances in 2016– will depart Wigan when his contract formally ends this month.