Following Shaun Wane’s shock announcement early last week regarding his leaving the club at the end of the 2018 season, there hasn’t been any real clarity about the future of the Wigan Warriors hotseat – until, possibly, now.
Assistant coach John Winder has emerged as a new favourite for the job and, such was the level of betting on him taking the role in the Wigan area in recent days, Super League title sponsor Betfred has closed the book on the market. Earlier, Winder was an 8/1 shot in the betting before he became an overwhelming favourite at the much shorter odds of 4/7.
It is believed that his installment as favourite is partially down to the current rugby union contract status of former Warrior Shaun Edwards who would be a very popular choice as new head coach. Currently under contract until the end of the 2019 Rugby Union World Cup, when League Express contacted the 51-year-old he offered a ‘no comment’ remark – read into that what you will.
Perhaps, then, Winder’s appointment would simply be a placeholder for 2019 with Edwards to take over the following season following the completion of his union duties. What is clear, however, is that these two are the only real contenders for the Wigan hotseat with Edwards odds, while much longer than Winder’s at the time of the book closing, at 9/4. Other contenders, including former Warriors half back Trent Barrett and current Castleford coach Daryl Powell, were around 16/1.
It wouldn’t be the first time that Wigan had promoted from within to take the helm as Wane – then assistant coach – himself stepped into the vacant head coach’s role following the departure of Michael McGuire at the end of the 2011 campaign after.
It is certainly expected that Edwards will soon return to rugby league after expressing a wish to have a crack at coaching in the sport in which he originally made his name. That, however, may have to wait just a bit longer as Winder looks set to take control – if, and only if, the bookies are to be believed.