One week into pre-season training and Wigan Warriors Head Physiotherapist Tom O’Malley believes the first team squad are “upbeat, enthusiastic and motivated” ahead of 2019.
Off the back of a brilliant 2018, O’Malley was full of praise for the shape of the Warriors squad. He said, “The lads have come back in really good shape, motivated and all ready to train. If anything, they have come in exceeding what we saw them achieve this time last year so that’s a really good sign. They are all upbeat, enthusiastic and motivated, or at least before the fatigue sets in.
With a few additions to the first team squad in the shape of new signing Joe Bullock and Wigan youngster Liam Byrne, O’Malley described how they are slotting into the squad. “They are getting on really well, obviously we will see at a later date with the usual soreness associated with pre-season but they are nice lads who are fitting in with the boys and are holding their own in terms of doing well in the testing we’ve been doing this week. The testing is really important this week so we can really find out just where everybody is at in terms of fitness.
Formerly of Sale Sharks RU and Sheffield United FC, O’Malley leads the Club’s team of physiotherapists who are tasked with assisting players’ recovery following a game whilst also helping players recover from injury through treatment and rehabilitation.
It’s not just in the playing staff where the Warriors have seen some departures, with a few familiar faces leaving during the off-season in the coaching staff. On this, O’Malley said, “There were great opportunities available for the staff that left, in terms of Shaun Wane and Mark Bitcon, who have gone on to great roles. I think the people left here are all ready to step up. I’ll be taking more responsibility with the overall medical side of the club with Brooksy [Prof Chris Brookes], the PJ [Paul Johnson] working on the Strength and Conditioning side of things.
He continued, “Really that relationship between myself and PJ will be key in terms of making sure we cover all bases for players and hit every performance measure that we want to. Everyone has stepped up and it’s a good feel among the staff and all very positive.”
As is always the case in a Wigan pre-season schedule, the squad will be taking part in an intense training camp away from their usual surroundings in the next couple of weeks, something that O’Malley is very excited about. He said, “It’s looking really good. We are holding back a bit of detail from the boys because we kind of want them going in feeling a little apprehensive. The one last year was excellent [In Wales] and Red Bull looked after us from a facilities point of view.
“Access to different points of view, different mind-sets and athletes Red Bull work with is great. They are pretty extreme in terms of what they do and that has a lot of carry over with our boys and it’ll be the same this time. We’ve been down and had a look at some of the things they’ve got and it’s certainly another step on from where we were last time. The lads will love and hate some of it probably as well.
Wigan warm up for the 2019 season with three pre-season fixtures against London Skolars, Salford Red Devils and Barrow Raiders in January. For more information, click HERE.
Catch every minute of Super League action at the DW Stadium and watch Adrian Lam’s Warriors defend their Betfred Super League title with a 2019 season ticket. More information HERE