Wigan coach Matt Peet puts trust in young guns

Drew Darbyshire
Matt Peet Wigan Warriors SWpix

Photo: Allan McKenzie/SWpix

Wigan coach Matt Peet says he has full faith in giving more academy products their chance to shine in the first team – just like Junior Nsemba has done in recent weeks.

The Warriors have been dealt a couple of injury blows to their pack in recent weeks, with regular packmen Mike Cooper, Brad Singleton, Willie Isa, Kai Pearce-Paul and Ethan Havard all sidelined.

That’s given a chance to the likes of young forwards Nsemba and Harvie Hill, who have impressed since their introduction to the first team.

And Peet, who was once head of youth at Wigan, says they’ll always look to promote talent from within their homegrown talent pathway before looking elsewhere to bring in new faces.

He said: “We started (the season) with a squad close to 30 men and we always expect that all of them will play a part, that’s why they train so hard in pre-season, that’s why John Duffy’s job (transition coach) is important with the reserves and lads out on loan. That’s where we’ll be looking.

“I just think it is exciting. Everyone puts their squads together understanding the challenges of the season. There’s a reason why clubs have a certain amount of players in certain positions. You are almost expecting these challenges to come.

“I remember at the end of last year, I knew we had a decent ride with injuries last year so you kind of know that you are going to get a different test, but that’s why its so important that the likes of Junior and Harvie and even when we recruited Ryan (Hampshire), we kind of knew at some point that we are going to need him.

“It’s good because it keeps everyone who has been ready for an opportunity primed. Tom Forber is another one who has worked so hard since day one of pre-season.

“When these days come around when you give them a game, you look forward to doing it. When you look at our senior players, the likes of Liam Farrell, Sam Powell and Harry Smith, they all got their opportunity from something like this so you just look at it as the start of a new era for an individual.”

Matt Peet backs ‘humble’ Junior Nsemba to build on his impressive form

Nsemba made a big impact when he came off the bench to score and help Wigan reach the Challenge Cup quarter-finals with an 18-14 win at Leeds last Saturday.

Peet continued: “Injuries have presented him with an opportunity and now he has started to take it so he’s going to get more opportunities.

“If he’s handling it well, as its shown in the past with players, they’ll play more often.

“I said I made a mistake against Hull, I had him on the bench and then we went behind. I probably hesitated a little bit and thought other players would get us back into the game, but really I should’ve trusted what he’s capable of and what he’s been doing in training, in the Championship and in reserve grade.

“He certainly showed what he’s capable of on the weekend and he’s got to build on that now which I’m sure he will.

“He’s come in with a good attitude, I’m sure he’s enjoyed some of the praise he’s got but he’s a very humble kid and he wouldn’t want to rest on one performance.

“Junior has been well brought up from a rock solid family and he’s been brought up the right way to be humble and respectful. I’m really confident he will respond the right way.”

Wigan travel to Craven Park in Thursday night’s televised clash with Hull KR, 8pm kick-off.

Hull KR: Ryan, Opacic, Kenny-Dowall, Hall, Sue, Parcell, Linnett, Minchella, Litten, Batchelor, Storton, Keinhorst, Lewis, Hadley, Senior, Wood, Johnson, Luckley, Aydin, Laulu-Togaga’e, Hall.

Wigan: French, King, Wardle, Marshall, Cust, Smith, Powell, Byrne, Farrell, Smithies, Ellis, Shorrocks, Mago, Thornley, O’Neill, Miski, Hill, Nsemba, Forber, Hampshire, Makin.

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