With 2016 just around the corner Super League XXI will soon be upon us and promises to be one to remember
A host of youngsters including George Williams, John Bateman, Dom Manfredi, Sam Powell and Ryan Sutton will be looking for big years
- Connor Farrell, Oliver Gildart and Lewis Tierney are also joined by another five Academy graduates
2016 is just around the corner and Super League XXI will soon be upon us.
The 2016 season promises to be one to remember for the Warriors and the future of the Club looks as healthy as ever.
The 2015 was a big season for many of the Club’s young guns. George Williams was handed the number six shirt and the 21-year-old enjoyed a stunning season. Having walked away with the Super League Young Player of the Year award, George made his England debut at the end of the season and played three times for his country.
John Bateman, in just his second season at the Club, has racked up 60 appearances to date and played four times for England at the end of the season after a fine year. Seen as one for the future when signed by Shaun Wane ahead of the 2014 season, Bateman’s form has seen him become a vital cog in the Wigan engine room at the age of 22.
Another player that blossomed in 2015 was winger Dom Manfredi who scored 22 tries in just 18 appearances. His form gave Shaun Wane more than one headache in 2015. Back to back hat-tricks in the wins over Catalans and Warrington in April helped him hold down a place in the team before he made his Grand Final debut in October. Manfredi takes the number five shirt after the departure of Joe Burgess.
Sam Powell has been around the Wigan team for several years you’d be excused for forgetting he’s just 23. Sam burst onto the scene in the half-back position but excelled off the interchange bench at Hooker in 2015. Shaun Wane last season labelled him as one of the most important players in his side owing to his versatility. He’ll be looking to add to his 62 appearances next season and desperate to pick up his first winners medal with the Club.
Powell signed a new contract ahead of the 2015 campaign along with Ryan Sutton – another Wigan Academy product. Sutton, a hard running Prop, ran out 18 times last year for the Warriors and grew in stature as the season went on. The former Ince Rose Bridge junior will be looking to continue his development this season as he competes for a spot in the pack.
As well as the five young players above, the likes of Connor Farrell, Oliver Gildart and Lewis Tierney will be chomping at the bit for more First Team action and Greg Burke returns after a year at Hull Kingston Rovers.
The Warriors also welcome five new Academy products into the squad with Joe Bretherton, Jack Higginson, Nick Gregson, Gabriel Fell and Luke Waterworth joining Academy Captain Jake Shorrocks in the First Team.