Wigan chairman Ian Lenagan ‘bitterly disappointed’ with no reserve team

Wigan chairman Ian Lenagan revealed the club are holding onto the hope that it will become mandatory for clubs to have a reserve team in 2020.

The Warriors decided to scrap their reserve team towards the end of last year due to the lack of competition, with them being one of only three Super League teams with a reserve side at the time of their decision.

Lenagan said: “We are bitterly disappointed that we’ve not got a reserves team in operation.

“Unfortunately, Super League doesn’t control the reserves. That has got to be controlled at the RFL level and there’s a great requirement, a great belief that we need a reserves structure in order to develop properly as a club and as a league.

“We certainly will have to have casual games organised and we’re already involved in conversation with the other obvious clubs in that respect.”

Over the years Wigan have had many talented players come through the ranks – George Williams and Oliver Gildart are some of the most recent examples of that.

Williams told loverugbyleague.com: “I don’t agree with it at all to be honest. I was quite lucky when I was coming through because they had the Under-18s, the Under-20s and then the first-team and in the Under-20s, you could have up to five over 21 players, so you were playing against Super League players some weeks.

“I think there’s a big jump, no disrespect to League 1 and the lads who go on loan to play in League One, but to play in Super League there’s a big difference and you need that in-between phase and reserves was a massive thing in my progression and I think it should come back.”

Gildart recently signed a new three-year contract with his hometown club and he also shared his views on Wigan having no reserve team for the upcoming season, he said: “It’s disappointing really, we were lucky me and George [Williams].

“It’s a shame we’ve not got that there, but you need the backing of the whole league for it to be working properly.”

With last years Super League and Under-19s Academy champions not taking part in any official reserve competitions this season, the club’s director Kris Radlinski has confirmed that there will be a dual-registration with Championship side Swinton Lions and Wigan will be looking to loan out young players for the early part of the season.