Martin Offiah makes bold Matt Peet claim after Wigan Warriors’ historic triumph

Ross Heppenstall
Martin Offiah and Matt Peet

Martin Offiah believes Matt Peet has the potential to become the greatest coach in Wigan Warriors’ illustrious history following their glorious clean sweep of trophies.

Last weekend’s 18-8 Challenge Cup final victory over Warrington Wolves ensured all four pieces of silverware are now under lock and key in the Cherry and Whites’ bulging trophy cabinet.

They won the League Leaders’ Shield and Super League title last autumn before beating Penrith Panthers in the World Club Challenge in February.

Since Peet took charge ahead of the 2022 campaign, Wigan have re-emerged as a major force again and Offiah reckons the former Academy boss is presiding over a genuine renaissance.

Legendary ex-winger Offiah – a guest of honour at Wembley who presented the Challenge Cup to victorious captain Liam Farrell – believes another dynasty could be on the cards.

“I was more nervous watching Wigan last Saturday than I was when I was playing,” Offiah, now a club ambassador for Wigan, told Love Rugby League.

“I had envisaged myself handing over the Challenge Cup to Liam Farrell and had spoken to him about it last Friday at the Cenotaph in London to lay the wreath.

“But I had no control over the game; my job is to be a mouthpiece for Wigan Warriors and the wider sporting world to buy into the story of what is happening at this great club.

READ NEXT: England series versus Samoa set to be announced as more details on venues emerge

“This is an incredible time for Wigan and I have been close to the journey since 2010, when Michael Maguire asked me to write a speech which was delivered to the players before that year’s Grand Final win over St Helens. That speech now sits on a placard above a door to the gym at Robin Park.”

Despite being the most successful club in the British game, Wigan have not enjoyed a sustained period of dominance in the Super League era.

“Bradford Bulls, Leeds Rhinos and St Helens have been the three clubs who have probably been more dominant in Super League, even though Wigan had intermittent success and were still the most famous brand,” added 58-year-old Offiah.

“But Michael Maguire was the catalyst to put that stake in the ground to really revive the club under Ian Lenagan’s ownership and then Shaun Wane carried that legacy on during his reign.

“Matty Peet is the latest incumbent and what he’s done in less than three years is absolutely incredible. It’s not only what he’s done but the way he’s done it with the culture he’s created.

“He’s not been afraid of what’s gone on before him, he’s embraced it as Wigan have done in the past, and is now taking the club to potentially new heights.

“This is Matty’s time and I believe he could become the greatest coach that Wigan have ever had. But as we all know, getting to the mountain top is a great feat and something that most clubs would be happy with.

“True greatness, though, is about staying there for an extended period of time and that’s the case in all sports. Look at Michael Jordan winning so much in basketball, Wigan winning eight successive Challenge Cups back in the day and Manchester United’s dominance.

READ NEXT: Assessing Wigan Warriors’ potential fullback options after Jai Field injury blow

“We’ve seen it with the likes of Roger Federer in tennis, so serial successes are the mark of true greatness in any era. I believe Wigan are on the cusp of that under Matty and the squad he’s got, but don’t underestimate the role of Kris Radlinski as CEO.

“He’s like a modern-day Maurice Lindsay and has the backing of a fantastic owner in Mike Danson, who is a highly successful businessman and is in it for the right reasons, having also bought Wigan Athletic.

“But it’s still all there to be done for this Wigan Warriors team and that’s the great thing about sport – even though you’re the favourites, you still have to go out there and win.

“You could see the pressure that Matty was under on Saturday and it was interesting afterwards when he said his overriding emotion was relief.

“That’s something I could relate to because, when I came to Wigan in 1992, they had won the Challenge Cup four years on the trot and they just had sold Ellery Hanley to Leeds and bought me!

“They sold the greatest-ever player to play the game of rugby league for £250,000 and bought me from Widnes for a record transfer fee of £440,000. I’d just been the top try-scorer in the competition for four years at Widnes and in 1994 I went to Wembley to win the Challenge Cup, scoring against Leeds.

“Now there I was last Saturday, thirty years later, handing over the trophy to Liam Farrell. We all understand the emotion surrounding the occasion with the tributes to Rob Burrow and, with it being the 30th anniversary of that win over Leeds in 1994, it made it even more special.

“I scored that long-range try against Leeds which has been immortalised as part of the Rugby League statue at Wembley Stadium.

“Last weekend was so emotional and made me realise what a great club Wigan is – but also that this could just be the start of another dynasty. This club has had so many great players, the likes of Ellery, Shaun Edwards, Andy Farrell and then Pat Richards, Sam Tomkins, Tommy Leuluai and Sean O’Loughlin.

“Matty is building on the huge role that Michael Maguire, Shaun Wane and Ian Lenagan played during the club’s more recent success. Who knows where the club will be in future?

“Wigan have already created so much history and the plan is to make even more.”

READ NOW: Wigan Warriors coach Matt Peet addresses NRL links with swift response