Wigan Warriors draw 'line in the sand' with 2019 squad numbers

Dom Manfredi will wear the No.21 shirt in 2019
Dom Manfredi will wear the No.21 shirt in 2019

Wigan Warriors executive director Kris Radlinski has said the 2019 squad numbers represent a "natural line in the sand."

The squad numbers are often seen as an early pecking-order for the upcoming season, and most players have kept their number from last term.

But some changes - and non-movers - may raise a few eyebrows among supporters.

Grand Final hero Dom Manfredi retains the number 21 jersey that served him well in his extraordinary comeback from injury in the 2018 season, with fellow wings Tom Davies (No.2) and Joe Burgess (No.5) also retaining their squad numbers. After another impressive season on the wing for Wigan, Liam Marshall swaps the number 22 for 17.

Fullback Morgan Escare has been given the number one jersey ahead of new recruit Zak Hardaker - who has been handed number 20 as he seeks to prove himself following a turbulent period in his comeback to rugby league.

Joe Greenwood has been handed the No.11 shirt while Sam Powell and Thomas Leuluai swap numbers, with Leuluai reverting back to the Warriors’ number seven jersey that he last pulled on in 2017, with Powell taking the number nine jersey for the first time in his Warriors career.

Joe Bullock will wear number 22 while Liam Byrne, promoted from the Warriors academy, will take the number 36 jersey.

Radlinski said: “Releasing the squad numbers is a natural line in the sand from the previous season as we look ahead to an exciting 2019 under Adrian Lam. They are a few changes of note in the numbers that I’m sure will have grabbed people’s attention.

“Firstly, Morgan Escaré will take our number one jersey, as he is the full-back in our squad who has the most credit in the bank for his performances in as Warriors jersey. Joe Burgess retains his number five shirt, having endured a difficult season with injury.

"Joe looks hungry and determined in training to have a big year. Dom Manfredi is delighted to have retained the number 21, the number that gave him the fairy tale ending at Old Trafford and Liam Marshall’s prominence over the last few seasons sees him awarded with a number in our first 17.

“With Thomas Leuluai and Sam Powell having swapped position to such effect last season, we thought this would be reflected in their playing numbers for the 2019 season. It’s also great to welcome new faces into the group such as Zak (Hardaker), Joe (Bullock) and Liam Byrne from our Academy system."

Radlinski hasn't ruled out more new faces joining the squad before their title defence starts.

“I don’t envisage this being our final list of players for when we head into our opening round fixture against St Helens," said Radlinski.

"We are still working on the possibility of bringing in one or two new faces into the group. Adrian has spent his opening week familiarising himself with our squad and looking at potential areas that need strengthening.

‘’We will also be looking at what opportunities arise for our fringe players to go out and gain some experience playing around the Championship”

Wigan Warriors Squad Numbers for 2019

1. Morgan Escaré

2. Tom Davies

3. Dan Sarginson

4. Oliver Gildart

5. Joe Burgess

6. George Williams

7. Thomas Leuluai

8. Tony Clubb

9. Sam Powell

10. Ben Flower

11. Joe Greenwood

12. Liam Farrell

13. Sean O’Loughlin

14. Romain Navarrete

15. Willie Isa

16. Gabe Hamlin

17. Liam Marshall

18. Warriors Fans

19. Taulima Tautai

20. Zak Hardaker

21. Dom Manfredi

22. Joe Bullock

23. Chris Hankinson

24. Oliver Partington

25. Craig Mullen

26. Josh Woods

27. Jake Shorrocks

28. Jack Wells

29. Liam Paisley

30. Josh Ganson

31. Liam Forsyth

32. Samy Kibula

33. Callum Field

34. Caine Barnes

35. James Worthington

36. Liam Byrne