Yesterday saw Wigan Warriors reveal their 2018 squad numbers and, following recent departures of two of their first choice thirteen in the shape of Anthony Gelling and Michael McIlorum, there have been changes for the upcoming campaign.
Perhaps the most intriguing one isn’t one assigned to a new player arriving but, instead, is that of Sam Powell who has been assigned the number 7 shirt previously donned by Kiwi Thomas Leuluai – a player who, in turn, has taken the number 9 jersey vacated by McIlorum’s departure to Wigan’s Super League rivals Catalans. While that may well suggest that the 25 year old academy graduate is set to star in a half back role, that isn’t neccessarily the case with the club’s executive director and former player Kris Radlinski suggesting that Powell may be set to feature in the hooking role as well. This may see Sam Tomkins play alongside talisman George Williams in the halves with Frenchman Morgan Escare slotting in at full back – but Shaun Wane will no doubt be glad to have the flexibility offered by having three players, if you include Leuluai, who are so flexible.
Radlinski hopes that this flexibility will see the Warriors improve on a greatly disappointing 2017 where they failed to reach the play offs, further adding that “having finished last season so disappointingly, it has been a long off-season and the players are hungry to put things right and get back out on the field. We want to play effective Rugby and win games but realise the importance of attractive Rugby to the matchday experience and hope that this competition for “spine” places will help reinvigorate the team.”
Other squad number changes see the returning Dan Sarginson given the number 3 shirt left free following Gelling’s own return to New Zealand as well as Tony Clubb step away from the 15 jersey he wore in 2017 to the number 8 shirt. The first choice wingers seem to have been revealed as well with youngster Tom Davies stepping up to number 2 from last season’s 36, suggesting that he will be lining up opposite Joe Burgess with the latter especially hoping for a high scoring season.