This morning, Wigan Warriors have confirmed that head coach Shaun Wane is to depart the club at the end of the 2018 campaign which will, at the end, have led to a six year term at the helm of the 2016 Super League champions.
Indeed, through his time in charge, the club have won every domestic trophy they could; two Super League titles (2013 and 2016), the Challenge Cup (2013) and the League Leaders’ Shield (2012). As well as this, 2017 saw the club lift the World Club Challenge trophy as they defeated Cronulla Sharks. Wane succeeded Michael McGuire as head coach and it is fair to say he has led the club through a good period in their history. He will depart the club as the longest serving head coach they have had in the Super League era and with the fifth longest term in the history of Wigan rugby league.
His departure comes at a time when change is afoot for the Warriors, especially on the pitch. While many young players have signed long term deals in recent weeks, including the highly rated trio of Liam Marshall, Tom Davies and Oliver Gildart, the futures of John Bateman and Ryan Sutton look uncertain. Rumours over the weekend have suggested that the pair are set to agree deals in the NRL from 2019 which would see them join Sam Tomkins in the departure lounge with the former Man of Steel moving to Catalans ahead of next season. Zak Hardaker has penned a new deal and will be replacing Tomkins at full-back but, now, it is uncertain as to who will be in charge at the club.
There have been suggestions that Shaun Edwards is a candidate for the role. The former Wigan player has been involved in rugby union since 2001 and has had roles with Wasps and the Welsh national team to name just two. He has publically stated his interest in returning to the sport where he made over 500 appearances as a player and his former club may look into the possibility of bringing him back. Alternatively, they may look to the NRL’s coaching ranks to recruit a new head coach and, having seen the transformation in St Helens’ fortunes since their local rivals appointed Justin Holbrook last summer, that may not be a bad route to take either.