Monday night saw 200 Wigan Warriors players from 11 different teams all take part in one training session at Robin Park Arena.
For the first time ever, players from the First Team, Reserves, Academy, Scholarship, Women, Women’s Academy, Physical Disability Rugby League, Learning Disability Rugby League, Wheelchair, Touch and College teams all took part in different groups.
Each group had at least one player from every team and they rotated to get involved in various sessions which were led by 40 coaches from all of the different teams.
The 12 groups all got involved in sessions including offside touch, skill games and drills, passing, tag, wheelchair, yoga/movement and strength and conditioning.
“We are trying to build a winning First Team, but it is also important that we build a Club that people feel a part of,” said Executive Director, Kris Radlinski. “The session saw players of all abilities training with the biggest stars at the Club, that is something that they will never forget. It was not just for players. Our junior coaches also got the opportunity to coach the first team. Seeing all the Club integrated as one was really important for us all. I can’t think of many more important, significant and humbling evenings in recent years.”
He added: “When I spoke to the coaches about doing the session, I said that the first team players will not get much out of it because of the varying skill levels but I now retract that comment. The holistic benefit of the session was immeasurable, and I commend our senior players for the way they threw themselves wholeheartedly into the night.
“Seeing the likes of Bevan [French] and Tommy [Leuluai] laughing and enjoying themselves with the players from all the teams was awesome. I was so proud of the Club and I would like to thank all the coaches and players for buying into the bigger picture.
“The night finished with a united circle of over 200 players and staff and an encore from Liam Marshall on the microphone. A perfect night.”
Take a look at the best photos from the night, courtesy of Club Photographer, Bernard Platt:
First Team Head Coach, Matt Peet, said: “The Club has 11 teams across a range of age groups, abilities and different skill sets so we’ve always planned to have an evening like this where we brought everyone together to train and meet each other.
“A lot of these people – although they are all play for the Club – they don’t know each other so it was an opportunity to break down a few barriers, not just for the players but for the staff and volunteers too.
“Everyone has got a lot to learn from one another. It’s about enjoying it, supporting one another and having some fun along the way. I hope we can grow this and do it more often.”
Head of Youth, Darrell Goulding, added: “Everyone had great fun and it was really good to see all the different groups of teams at the Club come together. The big thing was how much everyone was having fun. It was a huge success.”
Kris Ratcliffe, Women’s Head Coach, said: “It was absolutely fantastic, and it looked like everyone had a smile on their face. Great credit to the Club in putting this on and supporting all these teams by putting on one big fun session with the aim of being completely inclusive. There’s a real community feel about it.”