“He did things I’d never seen before” – why Kris Radlinski knew Matt Peet was the right man for Wigan

Drew Darbyshire
Matt Peet Wigan SWpix

Photo: Paul Currie / SWpix

Wigan boss Matt Peet might be the youngest head coach in Super League, but he is all the qualities to be a huge success, according to Kris Radlinski. 

Peet has been part of the Warriors for more than 13 years – both as a Wigan academy player and in a number of coaching roles.

The 37-year-old started his coaching career in the junior game with Westhoughton Lions and Wigan St Patricks. He linked up with Wigan in 2008 as a scholarship coach. He went on to shine in the roles of Under-20s assistant and then the Under-18s head coach in 2011.

Peet became the club’s performance coach in 2012 and became head of youth in 2013. In his seven seasons overseeing Wigan’s academy, they won the Grand Final an impressive six times.

The former England Academy assistant coach crossed codes to join Sale Sharks in 2018. He returned to Wigan as assistant coach to Adrian Lam in 2019. Now, Peet has served his apprenticeship and is the head coach of the Warriors first team.

Highly-rated Matt Peet backed to succeed as a head coach

“Matty has been in line to do it for the last six or seven years,” Wigan executive director Radlinski told Love Rugby League.

“When he was coaching the academy I specifically remember one night I went up to Orrell. I had the keys to Orrell so I used to go and train at night whilst the academy were training. I watched him do a training session and he just did things I had never seen before.

“After the session I went back and reported it to the chairman and said ‘there’s something different in this lad’. He is a thinker and he was doing things I’d never seen.

“Some of the methods he was doing were impressive and he’s developed. He’s built up a network of people around the world who he engages with as a student of the sport. He reads a lot, he is always sending me things to read and to watch. He is a well-rounded coach.

“I can see at the end of training and two players are on the floor stretching, Matt will go and sit on the floor with them. He’ll talk about the session or their kids. He just builds connections with people.

“We knew there would be some eyebrows raised when we announced him but we have to back our judgement and what we’ve seen over many years.”

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Radlinski excited by the partnership between Peet and Wane

Shaun Wane England PA
Shaun Wane returned to Wigan in the off-season

Wigan favourite Shaun Wane returned to his hometown club over the off-season in a leadership and management role. The current England boss won three Super League titles, one World Club Challenge one Challenge Cup and one League Leaders’ Shield in his seven years in charge.

“If you speak to Waney he will say that Matt is one of the main people in the game who he speaks to,” Radlinski added. “They’ve got an incredible relationship.

“I think it probably would’ve been a bit different if we announced Matt on his own without Waney alongside him but it was part of the strategy. Matt is a young coach and has got all this, but let’s put someone alongside him who bring the best out of him.

“Me and Waney have kept in contact and was just starting to ask questions about how he had missed the day-to-day and things like that. I was just getting the feeling that he wanted it again.

“I presented the vision to the chairman and said how it could work. We talked it through, spoke to Shaun Wane and then we had a chat with Matt. It has been great, there’s been a different vibe around the place.”

Peet won his first game as head coach of Wigan last week. They defeated Hull KR 24-10 at Craven Park.

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