With the recent signing of half-back Cade Cust from the NRL, we take a look at how Wigan could line-up next season.
The DW Stadium side have added five new faces to their squad for 2022 – although Iain Thornley is yet to have his move officially announced.
Also joining the Warriors are NRL duo Kaide Ellis and Patrick Mago, and winger Abbas Miski from London Broncos.
Matt Peet will take charge of the first-team in 2022, joined by assistant coaches Sean O’Loughlin and Lee Briers.
Peet has been promoted from his role of assistant to succeed Australian Adrian Lam on a two-year contract, with an option for a third season. Former Wigan coach and current England boss Shaun Wane has also returned to the club as the leadership and management director.
Joe Bullock, Amir Bourouh, Chris Hankinson, Jackson Hastings, Oliver Gildart have all joined new clubs, while Tony Clubb has retired.
Here’s how Wigan could line-up next season…
1 Bevan French
Bevan French missed the majority of the 2021 season due to injury, and is still recovering Down Under ahead of the 2022 campaign. In his first full-season in Super League, the Australian full-back scored 12 tries and assisted seven more. He was also nominated for the Steve Prescott Man of Steel award that year. He signed a new deal for 2022 and will be looking to return to his best next year.
2 Abbas Miski
With Dom Manfredi forced into retirement due to injury, winger Abbas Miski could be set for a starting shirt in his first season with the Warriors. Miski makes the move from Championship side London Broncos on a two-year deal, with the option of a third. He has previously played for Manly-Warringah Sea Eagles in the NRL and has also represented Lebanon on nine occasions.
3 Zak Hardaker
With the return of Bevan French in 2022, Zak Hardaker may see himself in the centres once again next season. While it’s no secret his preferred position is full-back, the 30-year-old is very talented in the centres.
4 Jake Bibby
Jake Bibby was arguably the stand-out performer in a disappointing season for Wigan in 2021. The utility-back can play at both centre or winger, but has previously discussed his preferred position in the centres. He scored 13 tries last season.
5 Liam Marshall
A no-mover in 2022, Liam Marshall looks set to retain his number five shirt in 2022. The winger is a product of the successful academy at the Warriors, and will be looking for a big year ahead of the Rugby League World Cup.
6 Cade Cust
New signing Cade Cust could very well be a regular starter for the Warriors. He can cover both the halves and hooker, and looks to be a promising signing for 2022. He played 27 games in the NRL, scoring nine tries.
7 Thomas Leuluai
Wigan will have strong competition in the halves next season. Youngster Harry Smith saw a lot of game time in 2021, and will be competing for a starting spot alongside Thomas Leuluai and Jai Field.
8 Brad Singleton
Another no-mover for the Warriors could be Brad Singleton. The former Leeds forward will be hoping for an impressive year to earn a call-up for Stuart Littler’s Ireland squad for the upcoming World Cup.
9 Sam Powell
With Cust and Leuluai also able to cover this position, it may see Sam Powell bring another level to his game. The 29-year-old has made more than 200 appearances for Wigan since his debut in 2012.
10 Oliver Partington
Oliver Partington is another talented youngster who has progressed through the club’s academy. He wore shirt number 14 last season, but could be rewarded with a starting number in 2022 at just the age of 23.
11 Willie Isa
Willie Isa is another who looks set to remain a starter at Wigan. A creative back-rower, he will be looking for an impressive season in 2022. He can also represent Samoa.
12 Liam Farrell
Liam Farrell is one the most consistent performers at both Wigan and in the Super League competition. The back-rower was in the running to take the vacant captaincy role following the retirement of O’Loughlin. He will be another looking to impress ahead of the World Cup.
13 John Bateman
The Wigan captain also led the England team in their recent international victory over France in Perpignan. John Bateman will be looking to lead by example in 2022 and guide Wigan to a successful campaign. The 28-year-old has already made more than 200 career appearances across Super League and NRL.
Like all Super League clubs, Wigan will have strong competition for starting and bench spots in 2022. Youngster Kai Pearce-Paul had a solid season in a breakthrough year with the club, making 19 appearances. Liam Byrne, Smith and Ethan Havard are all among the squad who will be looking for a place next year.
Here’s our pick at the club’s bench next year.
Bench: Jai Field, Morgan Smithies, Kaide Ellis, Patrick Mago.