Wigan Warriors debrief: Luke Thompson’s enormous effort, new halfback pairing, Liam Marshall’s freakish finish

Drew Darbyshire
Luke Thompson, Matt Peet, Liam Marshall Wigan Warriors Alamy

From left to right: Luke Thompson, Matt Peet and Liam Marshall of Wigan Warriors

Wigan Warriors coach Matt Peet met with the media in his post-match press conference after their 24-6 win over Leigh Leopards on Friday, discussing a number of talking points.

Peet was asked about Luke Thompson’s 68-minute stint in the middle, Brad O’Neill’s sin-bin, Jake Wardle’s classy display in the centres, Liam Marshall’s acrobatic finish and a new homegrown halfback pairing of Harry Smith and Jack Farrimond.

Here’s the review and rundown of everything that was said in the Warriors debrief.

Overall thoughts

“Really pleased. I think we came up against a really good team, really determined with a lot to play for, (it was) intense. It was a challenge with what happened to Mike Cooper early in the game. There were lots of tests there today but I thought the group delivered.”

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Luke Thompson playing 68 minutes

Luke Thompson Wigan Warriors Alamy
Luke Thompson of Wigan Warriors

“I thought our middle unit in general (was good). I sometimes watch Tommo and think he could play two games in a row. Anyone who has worked with Luke knows he is a consummate professional to a degree that he looks after himself in great detail and he invests in himself. He just does a lot of things that results in a performance on a weekly basis so he deserves what he gets. He was great against a good forward pack, I can’t praise Leigh enough for the way they came after us at the start of the game, but I thought Luke, Kaide (Ellis) and Brad O’Neill were great.”

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Brad O’Neill sin-bin and his big display at hooker

“I don’t like saying too much now (about cards) because I ended up with egg on my face last time. I was surprised to see a card, I’ve not seen it back in great detail but whenever there is a card you hold your breath a little bit.

“It’s not just the amount of what he does, it’s the quality what he delivers and the intent in it. He gets that sin-bin ultimately because he is trying to make that perfect tackle every time and he is trying to win the collision. I think in the modern game it is a fine art to try and be physical and aggressive but stay within the rules. I just love his energy, I’ve just watched him sing the (winning) song and he’s even the most enthusiastic singing that. He’s in a good place with his game at the moment and his life so we’re going to need him and we’re going to look after him.

“With the lads that have come back from England this week, obviously they’ve been through a bit over the weekend and we had to try and look after them in the week. I did have a bit of concern going into the game that they might have been a bit tired but to a man they were outstanding.”

A new halfback pairing of Harry Smith and Jack Farrimond

“It’s the present isn’t it? They played this week and it’ll be the same next week so it’s not the future, it’s the present. It’s an outstanding reflection on the coaches through the academy. We’ve just had Sean McHugh in who is one of our scholarship coaches and has been in our system for 10 years now, and there’s a lot of people who coach in our pathway who work on these players, and the local community game too, Jack (Farrimond) was at Leigh Miners, Junior (Nsemba) at Wigan St Judes, and when they hand these players over to you and the club, you have a responsibility to look after them the best you can and to give them a chance.

“There was a chance it wouldn’t have gone Jack’s way tonight, he was up against an outstanding left edge, it might not go his way next week but we’ll just look after him if he applies himself like he did tonight. We know he’s got ability and talent but I just love the way he committed himself tonight. It was a very different game for him than the London one, but I loved what he did.”

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Liam Marshall’s acrobatic finish

Liam Marshall Wigan Warriors Alamy
Liam Marshall of Wigan Warriors

“He’s just a really good player. He does so much work at the other end of the field and then he gets that opportunity and he nails it. A lot of the modern wingers’ jobs is making metres, getting between people, getting whacked and he does all of that and wins a few penalties, but then to get that one opportunity at that moment and have that skill and athleticism is what separates him at the moment. We think the world of him.”

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A classy display from Jake Wardle in the centres

“I say to him all the time that he’s just very good at playing rugby league and playing in the centre position. He must be a nightmare to defend for opposition centres. You can’t just be aggressive on Jake, there’s a lot to contend with: he’s got a lot of ability, his instincts are good and he’s got a great partnership with the players around him so he’s another player who is in a good place with his game at the moment and he is a pleasure to coach.”

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