Wigan Warriors enter the 2020 season with an exceptional squad and will look to get back to winning ways after failing to defend their 2018 title following a significant change in head coach to Adrian Lam in the 2019 season after the retirement of Shaun Wane. With Lam seemingly bedded into the set up they can reach the top again, here’s why…
Jackson Hastings proved a thorn in Wigan’s side last season, playing a key role for Salford Red Devils in their comprehensive victory over the Warriors in last season’s playoffs and comes in off the back of some excellent business from Ian Lenagan and Adrian Lam in the summer.
Hastings comes in for Williams, who is set to make his debut in the NRL this season for Canberra Raiders, off the back of an exceptional season in which he won Man Of Steel. While he may not garner as much love as home-grown Williams, objectively he should add more to the side as the competition’s premier playmaker off the back of a bolstered pack.
ARRIVALS: Jake Bibby (Salford Red Devils), George Burgess (South Sydney Rabbitohs), Mitch Clark (Castleford Tigers), Jackson Hastings (Salford Red Devils), Kai Pearce-Paul (London Broncos).
Wigan lost their key playmaker in George Williams in the off-season with the England half-back signing for Canberra Raiders in the NRL. A pivotal part of the fluid Wigan attack that was rampant in parts of the 2019 season, Williams’ classy running game and playmaking will be sorely missed by the Cherry and Whites both on the pitch and his character will undoubtedly missed within the dressing room, although Jackson Hastings’ arrival will soften the blow.
DEPARTURES: Callum Field, Dan Sarginson, George Williams, Sammy Kibula, Josh Woods , Craig Mullen.
1. Zak Hardaker, 2. Liam Marshall, 3. Chris Hankinson, 4. Oliver Gildart, 5. Joe Burgess, 6. Bevan French, 7. Thomas Leuluai, 8. Tony Clubb, 9. Sam Powell, 10. George Burgess, 11. Willie Isa, 12. Liam Farrell, 13. Sean O’Loughlin, 14. Ben Flower, 15. Joe Greenwood, 16. Morgan Smithies, 17. Oliver Partington, 19. Joe Bullock, 20. Liam Byrne, 21. Dom Manfredi, 22. Mitch Clark, 23. Jake Bibby, 24. Morgan Escare, 25. Jarrod Sammut, 26. Romain Navarrete, 27. Jake Shorrocks, 28. Harry Smith, 29. Jack Wells, 30. Ethan Havard, 31. Jackson Hastings, 32. Amir Bourouh, 33. Joe Shorrocks, 34. Kai Pearce-Paul, 35. Sam Halsall.
WHAT TO EXPECT
Wigan sit second favourites in the betting for the Super League title, with fierce rivals St Helens hotly tipped to defend their championship win of last year, however there is very little separating the two teams and the Warriors have a perfect test of their title credibility in their first five fixtures.
Wigan open the season at home against Warrington (30th January) in the first of three back to back night games, the second of which is at the Mend-A-Hose Jungle against Castleford Tigers (7th February) before they pit their wits against Super League debutants Toronto Wolfpack (13th February), while hosting Hull FC (23rd February) and a travel to Huddersfield Giants (1st March) finish off their opening five fixtures.
Following the exceptional signings in the off season, Wigan have an immensely deep squad, which boasts four starting standard half backs and a bulkier pack up front – a squad with which they should have no trouble in seeing off their first five games and the start of the season with a perfect record.
The depth throughout the squad also provides promise for sustained form throughout the season to put Wigan in a great spot for a run to the Grand Final.
Leading Tryscorer: Liam Marshall
Leading Pointscorer: Jackson Hastings
Player of 2020: Jackson Hastings