‘I never even imagined I would be head coach of this club’: Wigan Warriors boss Matt Peet details pride in leading team out at Old Trafford

Ben Olawumi
Matt Peet

Wigan Warriors head coach Matt Peet - Alamy

Wigan Warriors chief Matt Peet has admitted he ‘never imagined’ he’d be his hometown club’s head coach, opening up on how proud a moment it will be for him to lead them out at Old Trafford next Saturday.

Peet took the reins at the DW Stadium ahead of 2022 following the departure of now-Leigh Leopards boss Adrian Lam having been an assistant to the Papua New Guinean.

Guiding the Cherry and Whites to a first Challenge Cup final triumph since 2013 in his first year in charge with victory over Huddersfield Giants at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium, the 39-year-old then watched on as they were dumped out of the Super League play-offs at the semi-final stage by Leeds Rhinos on home soil.

There’s too been heartbreak this term, losing a Challenge Cup semi-final to Hull KR on golden point back in July. Since then however, the Warriors have been phenomenal, winning all nine of their last Super League games to claim the League Leaders’ Shield.

And yesterday, that semi-final heartache was well and truly put to bed as Peet’s men hammered the same opponents 42-12 to book their place in a Grand Final for the first time since 2020, with the man at the helm brimming with joy post-match.

Matt Peet: ‘I never even imagined I would be head coach of this club’

Having led the club back to Old Trafford for the first time in five years, Peet explained just how much it meant to him, and opened up on what has been a 15-year journey to get to this point.

He said: “I started off here as volunteer coach, and then I started getting paid a little bit as a part-time coach, but it (the head coach role) just seemed beyond me when I was coaching the academy to be honest. It just didn’t even enter my mind.

“It’s not like I’m trying to be really humble, it’s just something I didn’t think I’d be doing. I was more than happy coaching the academy and I had a lot of pride in having that job here.

“I never imagined I would be head coach of this club until Ian (Lenagan) and Rads (Kris Radlinski) mentioned it to me. It never crossed my mind until they mentioned it to me.”

Wigan Warriors gear up for clash with Catalans at Old Trafford

Peet will lead Wigan out next Saturday at Old Trafford alongside captain Liam Farrell, another hometown boy who has given more than a decade of service to the club.

There are plenty around in the Cherry and Whites camp like them too, who either have had the club at heart from a young age or have come to love it from lengthy stays in the North West.

It’s not just in the Wigan camp that’s the case either. Their opponents at the Theatre of Dreams next week will be a Catalans Dragons side spearheaded by veteran Sam Tomkins, and not far behind him will be Micky McIlorum, who made 242 Wigan appearances over an 11-year spell.

The occasion is a tantalising one, and one which Peet couldn’t be prouder to be involved in, as he told us post-match following yesterday’s win. He continued: “I’m so pleased for him (Farrell) this week that he gets to lead this team out.

It’s what me and Faz discuss all the time, the two of us walking out at Old Trafford together, and I do think it’ll be nice for him with two of his best mates on the other team in Sam and Micky.

“It’s going to be a fantastic game, both teams are littered with competitors and great players and talent, but for me to walk out with Liam Farrell, nothing will make me prouder.

“I’ve been dreaming about it for years to be honest. Everything you do and everything you talk about is to build for days like today, so you get opportunities on the biggest stage. Everything we do really is with that vision in mind, Wembley and Old Trafford and the big games, so it’s a week we’re going to embrace.”

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