Cassidy previews U19s opener

Cassidy previews U19s opener

  • Wigan Head of Youth Mick Cassidy previews Sunday’s Under-19s opener against London Broncos.

  • Young Warriors set to take on the Broncos as a curtain raiser to the First Team game at 3pm at Trailfinders Sports Ground.

  • Cassidy: “There’s plenty of good talent in the Under-19s who we could possibly give a First Team chance to and maybe a bench spot to give them that experience.”

Wigan Warriors Head of Youth Mick Cassidy says there has been ‘a lot of improvement’ from the Under-19 players ahead of Sunday’s opening game of 2019.

Cassidy returned to the club at the end of last year and will oversee his first game when the young Warriors face London Broncos at Ealing Trailfinders Sports Ground as a curtain raiser to the First Team fixture at 3pm.

Whilst Shane Eccles takes over as Under-19s Head Coach for the new campaign, Cassidy is excited to get started after what he admits has been a long wait.

Cassidy said: “It’s been the longest pre-season for me as a coach. It’s a late start for the Under-19s, but we had a great 34-0 win against West Wales Raiders in our friendly game.

A Wigan Warriors U19s select XIII defeated Betfred League 1 side West Wales Raiders 34-0 at Stebonheath Park in February.

“We’ve got a new blend of players playing together and in the last couple of weeks we’ve seen a lot of improvement and we’re all looking forward to it.

“We’ve been fortunate to get a few of our younger lads involved with First Team training sessions. Morgan Smithies spends one day a week with the First Team and Joe Shorrocks has had some experience too. Harry Smith also comes down to train, whilst playing on loan at Swinton Lions.

Harry Smith (left) and Joe Shorrocks (right) in action against London Skolars in pre-season.

“There’s plenty of good talent in the Under-19s who we could possibly give a First Team chance to and maybe a bench spot to give them that experience. It’s all about progression in the Under-19s.”

After nine years as coach at Widnes Vikings, Cassidy replaces Matty Peet as Head of Youth and will work alongside Head Coach Eccles for the 2019 campaign.

The 45-year-old enjoyed a 13-year association with Wigan where he made 368 appearances, collecting 16 honours in a glittering playing career.

Cassidy played for Wigan between 1990 and 2004.

Cassidy says there is pressure on him because of Wigan’s back-to-back Under-19s Grand Final success, but believes his role is about emerging young, talent home-grown players and solidifying a promising future for Wigan’s First Team.

Wigan’s Under-19s have won the last two Academy Grand Finals after victories over Castleford Tigers and Leeds Rhinos at the DW Stadium on both occasions.

“It’s awesome to be back at Wigan,” Cassidy said.

“I’ve always said I’d like to look at opportunities in coaching and helping to keep this club great.

“When you come to Wigan there is always pressure to be successful. The work we are doing is about developing young athletes to feed the first team and it’s one of targets for this year.

“If we can win something whilst doing that, it will be even better!”

On Sunday’s game, Cassidy is expecting a tough battle with the Broncos, but is hopeful the artificial pitch at Ealing will play to Wigan’s strengths.

Ealing Trailfinders Sports Ground.

“The First Team are stopping in a nice hotel on Saturday, while we’ll be on the road by 6:30am,” he joked. “I’ve got a couple of films lined up too.”

Cassidy added: “It’s our first competitive game and previous London teams that I’ve looked at have always been physical.

“The pitch is a fast track and we’ve played and trained on plenty of 3G pictures in and around Wigan. We’re used to it and I suppose for us, the faster the better!”

You can watch Wigan’s Under-19s in action against London on Sunday from 12:15pm live on Wigan TV.

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