Jake Wardle ‘grateful’ to Wigan Warriors for opportunity after winning Grand Final in debut season with club

Drew Darbyshire
Jake Wardle, Kaide Ellis

Jake Wardle celebrates Wigan Warriors' Grand Final win with Kaide Ellis - Alamy

Harry Sunderland Trophy winner Jake Wardle said he is ‘really grateful’ to Wigan Warriors for signing him after becoming a Super League champion.

The England international won the match of the match award on Saturday after helping the Warriors win their first Grand Final since 2018, beating Catalans Dragons 10-2 in front of a crowd of 58,137 at Old Trafford.

Wardle has enjoyed a stellar debut season with the Warriors following his arrival from Huddersfield Giants, scoring 16 tries in 31 appearances for Matt Peet’s side as well as being named in the 2023 Super League Dream Team.

“It’s a really proud moment for myself and my family,” Wardle said in the post-match press conference when asked about winning the Harry Sunderland Trophy.

“I’m just really grateful to Wigan and Matty (Peet) for giving me the opportunity to come to this club and being able to play in games like that.”

‘Thank you’ – Matt Peet’s words to Jake Wardle after Grand Final triumph

Wigan coach Peet paid tribute to Wardle following their Grand Final success, saying he’s proud of him every day – not just for his impressive display at Old Trafford.

“He was awesome,” Peet said of Wardle.

“What I say to him is ‘thank you’ – I’m really grateful for him trusting us and coming to Wigan and ‘thank you’ for how he applies himself daily.

“I’m not more prouder of him because we’ve won tonight – I’m proud of him day in, day out.

“He works hard on his game, has a great family around him and I’m just pleased for him to have his moment as I am with the rest of the team, but that’s why we signed him and that’s why he chose us.”

The year might not be finished yet for Wardle

Wigan’s season might be over – but Wardle’s could go on for a couple of weeks yet with England hosting Tonga in a three-match test series in St Helens, Huddersfield and Leeds.

Wardle, who is also eligible to represent Scotland via family heritage, made his official international debut for England in this year’s 64-0 mid-season win over France.

England coach Shaun Wane is expected to announce his 24-man squad on Tuesday, which could include Wardle after an impressive 2023.

Wardle added: “Being in the 40-man squad it’s obviously something on my mind, but I’ve just been trying to focus on playing as well as I could for Wigan and hopefully that’ll take care of itself.”

READ NEXT: Toby King ‘forever grateful’ to Wigan Warriors as Grand Final winner prepares for Warrington Wolves return