Wigan Warriors unlikely to take game ‘on the road’ next year, says Lenagan

Wigan took on South Sydney in an exhibition game, watched by 18,000-plus at the ANZ
Wigan took on South Sydney in an exhibition game, watched by 18,000-plus at the ANZ

Ian Lenagan says Wigan are unlikely to take a home game ‘on the road’ next year.

The Warriors broke new ground by taking their Super League match against Hull FC to Wollongong, New South Wales, last month.

Chairman Lenagan, who has previously moved a home game to London, is keen to repeat the experiment – hailing this year’s historic move as a “great success”.

But they are unlikely to be taking a game to Australia, America or anywhere else until 2020 at the earliest.

Lenagan says that window will give them time to explore options and plan the trip – their mini-tour of New South Wales took 12 months to organise.

The venture appeared to be well-received, with players and travelling fans hailing the experience.

Wigan strengthened their profile in Australia, as well as their ties to their former players, and significantly they made a profit – something Lenagan wanted to prove was possible.

The trip was funded off the back of grants from the tourism groups, Destination Wollongong and Destination NSW, and helped them increase their portfolio of sponsors.

But he admitted they didn’t make as much as they envisaged, having hoped for more than the 18,000-plus crowd for the international double-header which saw Wigan take on South Sydney in a friendly.

He said: “Whilst the trip was profitable, a disappointing Australian attendance at ANZ Stadium impacted on our financial return.

“But we set out to show that international club rugby is attractive – and it clearly is.”

By the time Wigan start planning for another road-trip, the Super League landscape should be clear.

Lenagan is among the club bosses driving “major changes” in the top-flight.

Key figures Nigel Wood and Roger Draper have already left in the shake-up.

It is unclear whether the Super-8s structure will be in place in 2019.