Wigan Warriors captain Liam Farrell believes the club’s strength in depth in the forward pack can only be a good thing as the Super League champions look to retain their crown.
Warriors boss Matt Peet has enjoyed an impressive start to his time as head coach, winning the Challenge Cup in 2022 followed by League Leaders’ Shield and Grand Final success in 2023.
Wigan have bolstered their pack options ahead of the new season, bringing in experienced hooker Kruise Leeming and powerhouse prop Luke Thompson from the NRL as well as hot prospects Sam Walters, Sam Eseh and Tiaki Chan.
Speaking to Love Rugby League at Wigan’s media day, Farrell insists the competition for places can only be a good thing for everyone involved.
“I’m guessing you’ll hear a lot of coaches and even players say that having depth in your squad creates competition for places,” Farrell said.
“With competition for places you are probably going to get a better playing team, that’s what I’m guessing Matty is looking for and hopefully he’s achieved it.
“If we’re going off how the pre-season has been so far, there’s been a lot of competition for places, and hopefully it’ll set us up for a really good season.
“They’ve all fitted in really well. We’ve signed some quality players, we’ve just spent 10 days in Portugal where everyone ripped in and trained really hard.
“On the flip side of that, we’ve also lost some players who were really good for us last year. It’s about them (new) players finding their feet in the team and finding their position, and hopefully they can bring something really good to us.”
Wigan Warriors making ‘huge strides’ on and off the field, says skipper
Farrell enjoyed a week on holiday with his family after being part of England‘s squad that beat Tonga 3-0 in a series whitewash last autumn, which gave him chance to properly look back on Wigan‘s impressive 2023.
“We had a week away and once the England stuff was done I had chance to reflect on the season and enjoy what we did in the Grand Final and stuff,” he added.
“It was really good just to relax knowing we did what we set out to do, so the downtime was really good.
“Off the field (in 2023) we made some huge strides forward in terms of the stadium and the fans, and on the field were great, winning the league and then the Grand Final was just a huge achievement and one that we really enjoyed.
“Just to be able to sit back knowing we did what we wanted to do, and the players achieved everything they wanted, is a great feeling.”
Liam Farrell glad to have old pal Joel Tomkins back at Wigan Warriors
Farrell’s former team-mate and good pal Joel Tomkins has returned to the Warriors in a coaching capacity, heading up the club’s scholarship side.
“I was really surprised,” Farrell said of Tomkins’ return. “He’d settled down and was training to become a firefighter and then all of a sudden he’s back in the club but it’s great to have him here.
“I looked up to Joel when I was coming through and he was an outstanding player for the club.
“I can’t think of anyone better than to bring through the young players at the club and I’m sure he’ll do a very good job.”