How pre-season Portugal training camp led to Wigan retaining Matt Peet long-term

Aaron Bower
Matt Peet

Matt Peet’s historic new seven-year contract to continue as head coach of Wigan Warriors was influenced by a pre-season training camp in Portugal – leaving Kris Radlinski sending late-night emails to convince the club’s hierarchy he was the right man for the job.

Peet and assistant coaches Sean O’Loughlin and Tommy Leuluai have agreed historic deals to remain with the Super League and world champions until the end of the 2030 season. Peet had only recently agreed a new deal to stay at Wigan until the end of 2027 last September.

Since then, he has led Wigan to victory at Old Trafford in the Super League Grand Final and against Penrith Panthers in the World Club Challenge. And the Warriors have sought to tie Peet and his staff down for an even longer period, with Kris Radlinski revealing just how important a training camp in Portugal was during pre-season towards the decision.

“I believe it’s useful to articulate my thought process,” Radlinski said. “It all began during the pre-season training camp in Portugal and witnessing the coaching team up close during the camp served as the catalyst.

NOW READ: Every Super League player out of contract at the end of 2024

“Whilst I knew Matt, Sean and Thomas were talented, seeing their depth of knowledge and delivery, and the players’ receptiveness was impressive.

“Part of my role is to look ahead constantly, and I always need to contemplate our next steps should the coaches decide to move on. Our trio of coaches, led by Matt Peet, have not only won matches and trophies but also the hearts of the players, the fans and the Communities they represent.

“Alongside this is their continual desire to learn and eagerness for development. They go about their business in a humble and unassuming manner.

“This realisation spurred a late-night email to our Owner, Chairman, and Director, outlining my thoughts. Their unanimous response was clear: we must retain these guys. We also recognise the demanding nature of the coaching profession, with constant media attention and a microphone in your face at every turn.

“At this point, I began to develop a long-term plan focused on financial security, professional growth, and personal well-being. It’s crucial to prioritise the work-life balance of our three coaches, all of whom have young families, ensuring they can manage their time effectively to lead fulfilling lives both personally and professionally.”

Radlinski continued: “The outcome? We have three outstanding and determined coaches who are hungry for success, dedicated to improvement and nurtured in an environment of support and well-being—a facet often overlooked in professional sport.

“I believe what we have created is a unique offering in the sports industry, where the well-being and support for the people who lead the teams are often neglected. I am confident that these exceptional individuals will guide our club to further success.”

LRL EXCLUSIVE: The value of the new Championship TV deal revealed in full