In Focus: Jack Farrimond

Jack Farrimond has adjusted well to First Team life at Robin Park Arena in the off-season. In a familiar setting of the SOL Suite, the teenager spoke about his progression through the Warriors youth system.

The latest Warriors young prospect has already accumulated a heap of praise from showcasing his talent in a breakthrough campaign for the Academy and Reserves last year.

Watchers of Farrimond will be well aware of his exciting playing style, which extends to his kicking ability. The half-back has shown his potential further in pre-season with impressive try-scoring displays in First Team friendlies against Wakefield Trinity and Hull FC.

Farrimond scored within a minute of coming off the bench at the MKM Stadium, and when asked about the moment, he smiled and said: “It was such a special feeling getting over. I was just over the moon and it’s a moment I’ll remember for a long time.”

Photo: Steve Flynn Photography

Before signing his first contract with the Warriors Scholarship programme in 2022, the Leigh-born teenager spent his entire junior career learning his trade at Leigh Miners Rangers. Like many aspiring young players, Farrimond’s love for the sport development before he stepped on a pitch.

“Any type of ball you could chuck up and down or kick I’d be playing with it inside the house from as young as I could remember,” he described. “All balls were allowed in the house until my little brother came along as that’s when things started getting daft. Our mum made us get a soft ball for inside to save her picture frames and vases from getting smashed.”

Farrimond began his rugby career at Miners aged five, and when asked to recall his earliest memories of junior rugby, a light smile reappeared: “I’ll always remember a game against Thatto Heath when I was around eight or nine and we were playing in hailstone and on a pitch that was three inches deep in mud.

“I was just thinking ‘why are we playing in this?’ as we had parents running on the pitch with gloves on trying to warm our hands at any break in play. Looking back those matches in tough conditions are individual pieces of what you are working towards.”

“I’ll always remember matches against St Judes as well as coming from Leigh that was the one to get up for,” Farrimond added. “It was one of our toughest games and their parents were always noisy on the touchline – that’s how it was all the way through.”

Across his time at Miners, Farrimond was coached by father Tom, a former Miners player, who still remains heavily involved off the pitch. Aspiring from a young age to follow in the footsteps of his father, Jack spoke proudly on the impact his father has had on his development.

“He’s definitely been influential,” he said. “He was one of my coaches at Miners and he had a real big push on me all the way through. I help coach at the Club with him now and he always makes sure that I take a cone and a couple of balls to have a kick after sessions so that I improve.”

Having captained the Warriors Academy side last season, the campaign also saw Farrimond play his first match at the DW Stadium as the Warriors defeated Warrington in a curtain-raiser for the First Team’s Heritage Game against the Wolves in July.

Farrimond scored a try and maintained a perfect record from the tee in a 30-12 win, and following the First Team’s victory, the two Warriors teams shared a special post-match victory song.

“Matty told us pre-match that if both teams won then we’d have a joint song,” Farrimond said. “He came over afterwards and said ‘do you know the tune’ which I did, so he brought me forward to be the drummer. It was a nervous moment at the start but as I got into it I just enjoyed it.”

A breakthrough season saw Farrimond score 11 tries and 71 goals in 12 starts for the Academy side. Impressive performances led to Farrimond receiving the Edwards-Johnson Memorial trophy, an award presented to the Club’s 2023 Academy Player of the Year – most recently won by Harry Smith and Harvie Hill.

Farrimond was presented with the trophy on the pitch at half time of the Warriors’ victory over Castleford Tigers in September, and when asked about receiving the award, the half-back explained the honour came as a pleasant but unexpected surprise.

“I was told a few days before that I was needed in the tunnel at half time, but I wasn’t told why,” Farrimond said. “I’d signed my full-time contract a few weeks earlier so I thought it might have been a congratulations on that. The trophy then came out and it was announced I was the Academy Player of the Year which was a very special moment but one I definitely wasn’t expecting.”

The teenager, who has been handed his first squad number [30] ahead of the 2024 campaign, has now stepped up and settled into the First Team environment at Robin Park Arena. Upon reflection on his transition, the half-back recalled the nerves he experienced at the start.

“It was nervy at the beginning as I’ve gone from being Academy captain and Player of the Year to being in a completely new environment with some of the best players in the game,” he said. “I’m settling in now although the nerves will continue as the expectations are now higher.”  

Despite the hectic pre-season schedule, Farrimond admitted he’s managed to live a similar life since joining the First Team squad. “I still just go home, have my tea, and go to bed,” he laughed. “My mum and dad still do most the cooking when they get in from work but every now and again I’ll make a spag bol or lasagne.”

When asked if his home-cooked meals would be a hit with the squad, Farrimond confidently replied: “They’d go down well. There may be a few faces pulled as I like carrots in mine, but the lads would like it.”

Farrimond, who turned 18 in the weeks following Wigan’s Grand Final success, admitted he hasn’t yet been christened with a nickname, although, there is one word teammates have used to describe him.

“Everyone calls me annoying,” he responded whilst shaking his head. “They always say I have too much energy in the mornings when they’re all still asleep but that’s hardly annoying – or at least I try my best not to be.

“I’ve definitely had to mature a lot. I always liked a laugh and a joke, but I’m realising now that I have to be mature everywhere I go – I can’t be the little kid running around anymore.”

Whilst working through pre-season, Farrimond has turned to teammates Jai Field and Bevan French as well assistant coaches Sean O’Loughlin and Tommy Leuluai for advice on how to hone his skillset. With an ‘always room for improvement’ mindset, Farrimond talked through the conversations he had with fellow half-back Smith during the squad’s time in Portugal.

“One of the first things that was said when I came to the Academy and then when I made the transition to the First Team was that I’d bounce off Harry,” Farrimond said. “Having someone like Harry around has definitely made things easier to settle in as he’s someone who’s been in this position recently.

“I’d see Harry kicking the ball a certain way so I’d ask why he was doing that and he’d always turn around and teach me. There’s still work I need to put in on some of them but there is a couple Harry has taught me which I’ll definitely take into my game going forward.”

Farrimond was part of the first group to report back for pre-season in November beside Jacob Douglas and Harvey Makin. Alongside rebuilding fitness in the gym and on the field, the trio gained valuable experience working within a number of professions in the local area.

“One of the days I was roofing, one was spent fitting carpets, and I also had a few days in The Brick,” Farrimond said. “Being around different types of people in The Brick really opened my eyes up to how fortunate I am to be a rugby player.

“Coaching has also been massive for me at this age as I’ve realised not everyone gets it their own way growing up as a kid. I had it easy but there are kids out there who have it tough yet they still put in all the effort as ultimately rugby is what they want to do.”

Farrimond’s hard work in pre-season led to praise from Matt Peet in a recent interview with Sky Sports, however, despite the high level of applauds, the teenager is remaining focused on his goals for the season ahead.

“My dad sent me the video,” he said. “I just thought I was getting along with improving but it’s nice to know Matty thinks I’m impressing. It’s nice hearing the compliments but I’m fully focused on carrying on with the next job to make sure I keep going forward.

“The main goal is to get as many games as possible this season as I can still play Academy and Reserves. It’s important I get as much out of this season as possible so I can keep progressing as a player as well as a person.”

Jack Farrimond is sponsored by Lynne Carroll.

Wednesday 07 February 2024