Toby King opens up on honest first conversation with Wigan boss Matt Peet

Josh McAllister
Toby King Wigan Warriors SWpix

Photo: Paul Currie/SWpix

Wigan’s new recruit Toby King has revealed the frank first conversation he shared with head coach Matt Peet ahead of signing on loan for 2023.

King, 26, joins the Warriors on a season-long loan from Warrington, having found himself on loan at Huddersfield last season.

The Ireland international is one of two new faces to join Wigan during the off-season – alongside fellow centre Jake Wardle following the loses of Jake Bibby and Sam Halsall.

He admits that returning to Warrington wasn’t an option for 2023, going on to explore his opportunities elsewhere and eventually meeting Wigan boss Peet before signing on the dotted line.

“It was one of those situations where I couldn’t really go back there (Warrington),” King said.

“My agent said there’s an option at Wigan, do you want to meet Matty (Peet) and Rads (Kris Radlinski).

“I came and met them and I was blown away right from that chat.

“The first impression of Matty, I sat down with him for a coffee and he looked at me and straight away he give it me.

“He looked at my body and said ‘We need to work on you’. He said I needed to put some size on and get a bit bigger.

“I was taken back a little but I’m hoping now these last three months that I’ve put the right weight on, eaten well and I’m fit and raring to go.”

Matt Peet on first impressions of Toby King

Head coach Peet also recalled the first time he met King – admitting he was delighted to secure both him and Wardle for the upcoming season to strengthen the club’s centre position.

Both Bibby and Halsall featured in the centres last season, while Zak Hardaker returned to Leeds midway through the year.

Iain Thornley also continues to recover from a knee injury. 

“I think for a few years, we’ve lacked a bit of consistency in the centres,” Peet told Love Rugby League.

“We’ve had a few play out of position. We’ve done well, but there’s something about natural centres with cohesion on the edges in attack and decision making.

“I would have been happy with one of them (Wardle or King). So when Ian Lenagan and Kris decided to get the two, I was really pleased.

“They’re both British lads, so I’ve seen them come through the academy systems and coached against them. I’ve tried to sign Jake a good few times. And we’ve finally got him over the line.

“And Toby is a centre who has always played well against Wigan teams. I’m a big fan.”

“I expect us to see the best of him this year”

King had signed a new long-term contract with Warrington back in 2021, keeping him with the club until at least the end of 2025.

However, the Huddersfield-born player fell down the pecking order upon Daryl Powell’s arrival and has arguably failed to reach his potential over the last few years.

“He’s got to get back to being his most motivated, fittest and strongest and I expect us to see the best of him this year,” Peet continued.

“When we first met, I asked him ‘Are you in the best shape of your life?’ and he said no. So I asked, ‘Why not?’. It was a really simple question for a professional athlete.

“Hopefully he’ll be in the right environment and we can support him and drive him to find his best form this year.”

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