Wigan Warriors stalwart Liam Farrell said he and his teammates were ready to party after lifting the League Leaders’ Shield, silverware which ‘doesn’t get the recognition it deserves’.
Hometown lad and captain Farrell got his hands on the shield for the fourth time in his career on Friday night following a hard-fought 10-6 win at local neighbours Leigh Leopards.
It was a first time since 2020, but importantly a first time in front of the club’s supporters since 2012 with the success three years ago experienced behind closed doors during the COVID-19 Pandemic.
In total, the Cherry and Whites have now won the shield six times, though only twice have they gone on to win the Grand Final having done so. Regardless of any of that, 33-year-old Farrell was understandably delighted post-match.
Wigan Warriors skipper keen to highlight value of League Leaders’ Shield
Now-Leigh boss Adrian Lam was the last man to guide the Warriors to a top-of-the-table berth come the end of a campaign, and in the build-up to Friday night’s clash he told Love Rugby League it remains a ‘massive honour.
Speaking to Sky Sports just before he lifted it at the Leigh Sports Village, Farrell – who is just two appearances away from 350 in Wigan colours having debuted in 2010 – was of the same mindset.
He said: “I just think to be named the most consistent team in the league and get the League Leaders is a remarkable effort from everyone at the club, everyone through it and the full squad.
“It probably doesn’t get the recognition it deserves with the way the league’s set up and the Grand Final, but we’ll give this the celebrations it deserves and we’ll look forward to it.”
Stalwarts Farrell and Marshall pay credit to Leigh Leopards
Friday night’s victory was the third time that Matt Peet’s side have overcome Leigh this year in the appropriately dubbed ‘Battle of the Borough’ fixtures. Both previous have been by heavy scorelines, but Lam’s side were right in the contest until the end this time around with neither side scoring a single point in the second half.
The Leopards – who were controversially denied what appeared to be a stonewall try – will also compete in the play-offs, heading to Hull KR next week. Both Farrell and namesake teammate Liam Marshall had praise for their near neighbours.
Farrell said: “It was probably a little bit closer than we’d have wanted tonight, but to set us up for the play-offs, we couldn’t ask for anything more. We’ve had some blowout scores in the last few weeks, and to have a close game like that, it sets us up nicely I think.
“That’s what we’ve been trying to aim for all year, to have the best defence in the league. We’re up there with the best so we’re happy with what we did tonight, and we knew Leigh would hang in there, it was just a matter of backing our ‘D’ and getting out of our end, I thought we did that really well.”
Marshall meanwhile added: “I think they’ve shocked everyone, they’ve been absolutely outstanding from the word go. They’re a very, very good side and that’s evident with the grit they’ve shown here. They were missing some of their big players tonight, they’ve got a small squad, but they turn up every week.
“That’s probably one of the toughest games we’ve played all year and obviously the hostile atmosphere attributes to that. It’ll stand us in good stead for the play-offs, credit to Leigh, a great club and a great side. I think even off the field, what they’ve brought to the league, putting bums on seats and getting eyes on the game is fantastic. Long may it continue.”