Wigan Warriors

Stadium: The DW Stadium
Coach: Adrian Lam

Last season’s finish: Winners

9/2 with Betfred to win the 2019 Grand Final

Former England international Hardaker could have a big impact in 2019

It was a classic case of finding form at the right time for the Warriors in 2018 as they went on to win the Betfred Super League Grand Final at Old Trafford after a remarkable run at the the back end of the season.

The Cherry and Whites made a solid start to the season, losing just one of their first five games, but there wasn’t much they could do apart from watch local rivals St Helens establish themselves at the top of the league with some superb early performances.

However, as the clubs around them started to fade, Wigan got stronger, as they have done so many times before, winning 10 games in a row on their way to a 5th Grand Final win.

There was plenty of upheaval throughout the season as two club legends, Shaun Wane and Sam Tomkins, announced they would be moving on at the end of the season, alongside Man Of Steel contender John Bateman, who signed with the Canberra Raiders for 2019.

So, in the run up to the new season there is a sense of a new era dawning at the DW Stadium.

Adrian Lam is the man tasked with job of taking over from one of Super League’s most iconic coaches in Wane, before Shaun Edwards takes the reigns in 2020.

The former Papa new Guinea International could be the perfect fit to take over on an interim basis. He is already hugely popular with the Wigan fans having made over 100 appearance for the club, from 2001-2004, and has spent time as an assistant coach to current England boss Wayne Bennett.

Lam will also be boosted by a number of new signings, with Zak Hardaker being the highest-profile addition to his squad, returning from a 14 month suspension.

The former England full-back has proven himself at the highest level and adds a serious attacking threat to any side. If Lam can get him up to speed quickly, he could prove to be a dangerous weapon, and the ideal replacement for Sam Tomkins.

One of the more curious signings of the off-season was that of Jarrod Sammutt. The enigmatic halfback was in sparkling form for the London Broncos in 2018, leading them to promotion, but having spent three seasons in the Betfred Championship it will be interesting to see if he can consistently provide the kind of performances Wigan will need for another season challenging for honours.

Despite the changes, Wigan look well set up for another successful season – and if they can set the tone early on with some strong performances they could well be challenging for honours once more come October.

What do the experts think?

Paul Sculthorpe: “The current Super League champions! But, I think a weaker side in 2019 after losing some key personnel. Also, major changes at the top under new gaffer Adrian Lam after taking over from Shaun Wane. All eyes will be on new signing Zak Hardaker, a temperamental but undoubted talent.”

Star man? Zak Hardaker

Predicted finish? 4th

Jamie Peacock: “What will the new Wigan play like? I think it will be difficult to overcome the departures of Coach Wane and key players such as Tomkins and Bateman.”

Predicted finish? 6th

 

The Betfred Super League 2019 kicks off in:

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