Wigan Warriors’ Liam Marshall lifts lid on family grief, newborn daughter and Matt Peet’s incredible gesture

Ross Heppenstall
Liam Marshall Wigan Warriors Alamy

Wigan Warriors winger Liam Marshall celebrates their 2024 World Cub Challenge triumph

To say that Liam Marshall’s life has been an emotional rollercoaster in recent weeks barely begins to do justice to two seismic events he describes as the “highest of highs and lowest of lows”.

On February 2, the Wigan Warriors winger became a father for the first time after his wife Megan gave birth to daughter Elsie. The following day, Marshall’s much-loved mother Debbie tragically died.

It was a loss which not only hit the 27-year-old hard but was also felt deeply at the club.  The Marshalls are a hugely popular family in Wigan, with dad David having played 39 times for the Cherry and Whites in the last 80s and early 90s, growing up with Shaun Wane. 

Team-mates, staff, head coach Matt Peet and chief executive Kris Radlinski could not have been more supportive. Throughout everything, Marshall has been busy doing what he does best – patrolling Wigan’s left flank and scoring plenty of tries.

The prolific wideman bagged another four in Sunday’s 60-6 Challenge Cup quarter-final win at Castleford Tigers and reflected on a hugely tumultuous period in his life.

Speaking about the heartbreaking loss of his mum for the first time, Marshall told Love Rugby League: “It’s been a whirlwind, with the highest of highs and lowest of lows within the space of a couple of days.

“I need to give a shout out to the lads and the club who really got me through that period. They stood by me, especially Matty and Kris Rads, who were very understanding in what we were going through as a family.

“They have been incredible and I wouldn’t want to have been at any other club in the world but Wigan at that time. Matty was actually one of the first people who came around to my house following the passing of my mum.

“He just turned up on my doorstep on the day it happened and sat with us as a family for two hours. He spoke with us and was there to comfort us, but that’s what Wigan is like as a club and the family environment that exists here.

“It’s like a second family to me and the best thing I can do to repay their support I’ve had in the past couple of months is to keep performing on the field and hopefully get more success this year.

“I can’t thank the club enough for the support they’ve given me.”

Marshall is loving fatherhood and said the arrival of Elsie had given him added motivation to perform for Wigan.

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“My daughter’s obviously still very young, so whether I come home after a win or a loss, she’s still got a little smile on her face,” he explained.

“Elise takes my mind off rugby and is a good distraction, so my work-life balance is good at the minute. My wife is at home doing great things for me the night before games, looking after Elise, so I can’t complain.

“The birth of my daughter has given me extra motivation and I’ve been lucky enough that my rugby has carried on and I’ve been playing pretty well.

“Hopefully I can keep that up and now with Elsie I’ve got someone else supporting me with the rest of my family.”

In a side flooded with star names such as Jai Field and Bevan French, it is perhaps easy to forget at times how influential Marshall continues to prove for his hometown club.

He scored the winning try against Huddersfield Giants in the 2022 Challenge Cup and in last season’s Super League Grand Final win over Catalans Dragons.

His four-try haul against Castleford on Sunday took him past 150 career tries as Wigan booked a Challenge Cup semi-final spot with Hull Kingston Rovers.

When the sides met in last season’s semi-final at Headingley, the Robins edged it in golden point extra-time with a drop-goal from Brad Schneider.

Marshall said: “There’s obviously a bit of spice in it from last year’s Challenge Cup semi-final, but we’ll just prepare for it like any other game.

“It’s obviously exciting because we’re one game away from Wembley now, so hopefully we can go one better than last year and have a weekend in London.

“I’ve grown up following Wigan and everyone knows this club’s history with the Challenge Cup.

“The eight-in-a-row between 1988 and 1995 was obviously before my time, but I went to a couple of finals as a kid and one that didn’t include Wigan after going with my school team.

“The Challenge Cup is synonymous with Wigan, but we’ve got a really tough semi-final against Hull KR. They’re a really classy team and can’t look any further than that.”

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