All-time Best Super League XIII: Wigan Warriors

In this series, we put together the ultimate Super League starting 13’s for each club that has seen at least five seasons in the competition.

Today it’s the turn of Wigan, so here’s who we think would make their ultimate Super League XIII…

1. Kris Radlinski

Radlinski signed for the club in 1993 as a junior, and went on to hold down a regular spot. Fast-forward to the first Super League season, where Wigan’s grip loosened on the Challenge Cup and they also lost the league title. However, he did help the Warriors to Premiership success. A year later, he was on the scoresheet as Wigan defended the Premiership title. Radlinski was then able to help Wigan go one better and lift the Super League title in 1998. He scored 11 tries on the way. 2001 was his most productive season by far, as he scored 30 tries in 30 matches, as Wigan reached the Grand Final, but they were beaten by Bradford Bulls. A year later, he helped the Warriors to the Challenge Cup, and won the Lance Todd Trophy. In 2004, he missed only one match as Wigan went within one match of the Super League Grand Final, but were beaten by Leeds. He missed most of 2005 with a foot injury, and retired at the start of 2006. However, with the Warriors in trouble, he came out of retirement and played out the rest of the season.

Notable mentions: Sam Tomkins, Zak Hardaker, Chris Ashton.

2. Jason Robinson

Robinson signed for Wigan as a teenager from Hunslet in 1993, and took the sport by storm. By the time the Super League came around, he was hot property. He was in fine form for Wigan, scoring 24 tries, including one in the Premiership Final against St Helens. In 1998, he scored eight tries in five matches as Wigan reached the Challenge Cup Final, but were beaten by Sheffield. He made up for that disappointment, by scoring the Warriors’ only try as they won the inaugural Super League Grand Final. He then became part of an elite club of players to win both the Lance Todd Trophy and the Harry Sunderland Trophy. In 2000, he scored 20 tries, making it his best total since the inception of the Super League. His final game was the Grand Final defeat against St Helens, before departing for rugby union.

Notable mentions: Josh Charnley, David Hodgson

3. Gary Connolly

Connolly signed for the Warriors from bitter rivals St Helens in 1993, and went on to become a legend for Wigan. The first two seasons of Super League were consistent for him, as he notched 13 tries in both. In 1996, he was named in Super League’s Dream Team at fullback.  He then bettered that in 1998, as Wigan won the Super League with 15 tries. He remained an important part of the side during the 1999 and 2000 seasons, managing double figures. His time at the club came to an end in 2003, as he joined Leeds. Connolly played over 300 games for Wigan, scoring 136 tries.

Notable mentions: Steve Renouf, Anthony Gelling

4. George Carmont

George Carmont. This file is distibuted under Creative CommonsAttribution-ShareAlike 2.0 Generic licence.

Samoan international Carmont signed for the Warriors in 2008 from Newcastle Knights. He made an immediate impact, scoring 13 tries and playing in every game. A year later, he would better that record, with 15 tries. 2010 saw him win his first trophy with the Warriors, he started at centre as they won the Super League Grand Final. In 2011, he scored two tries in helping Wigan claim the Challenge Cup. 2012 saw his most productive season, as he scored 20 tries in 24 matches as Wigan won the League Leaders Shield. He then retired at the end of that season.

Notable mentions: Oliver Gildart, Paul Johnson,

5. Pat Richards

NRL winner Richards signed for the Warriors in 2006 from Wests Tigers. He scored on his debut against Catalans Dragons, but it was a struggle for the team, as they tried to avoid relegation. 2007 saw him take on the main goalkicking responsibilities. He scored 111 goals as well as 12 tries for the Warriors. He continued to grow season on season, until 2010, when the arrival of Michael Maguire saw his game reach new heights. This time, he scored 31 tries in 31 games. Richards also kicked 155 goals as Wigan won the Super League title. A year later, he scored in every game he played in as the Warriors lifted the Challenge Cup. His impact was a little more limited in 2012, as he only played 14 matches, but he still scored 15 tries and 63 goals. Richards then helped the Warriors to a League and Cup double. He scored four goals from four attempts in the Challenge Cup Final, and scored a try and five goals in the Super League Grand Final. Richards then returned to the Tigers.

Notable mentions: Brett Dallas, Brian Carney, Joe Burgess

6. George Williams

George Williams. Credit: Richard Long/News Images

Williams came through the Wigan academy, making his debut in 2013. He scored on his debut in the Challenge Cup against Leigh Centurions. Following the departure of Blake Green following the 2014 season, he became the club’s first choice standoff. He instantly repaid Shaun Wane’s faith, scoring seven tries and winning the Young Player of the Year award at the Man of Steel awards. A year later, he claimed his first piece of silverware, as Wigan lifted the Super League title. 2017 was his most influential year, as he scored 12 tries over the course of the year, and 53 goals. A year later, he was back in the winners circle, as the Warriors won the Super League again. Williams was a key player for the Warriors in 2019, scoring 15 tries in 31 matches, but Wigan fell just short of the Grand Final. He then moved to the NRL with Canberra Raiders.

Notable mentions: Trent Barrett, Henry Paul, Tony Smith

7. Thomas Leuluai

Thomas Leuluai. Credit: Craig Milner/News Images

Leuluai signed for the Warriors from Harlequins ahead of the 2007 season. He wet straight into the side, playing all 30 games in the Super League that season. Later that year, he was on target as Wigan recorded one of the biggest comebacks in the history of the Super League, coming from 30-6 down to beat Bradford 31-30. Leuluai’s first trophy at Wigan came in 2010, he started as Wigan beat Saints to win the Super League Grand Final. He was then on target as Wigan beat Leeds to lift the Challenge Cup a year later. The Kiwi international then departed for New Zealand Warriors ahead of the 2013 season, but returned in 2017. A year later, he claimed a second Super League title. He was on target in the semi-finals against Castleford Tigers, and then played in the Grand Final win against Warrington.

Notable mentions: Adrian Lam, Paul Deacon, Matty Smith

8. Terry O’Connor

O’Connor signed for Wigan from Salford back in 1994. By the time the Super League began two years later, he was fast becoming a mainstay in the team. In 1998, he helped the team to their first title win of the new era, starting in the Super League Grand Final win against Leeds. His only try that year came in a derby victory against St Helens at Central Park. In 2001, he played in every game as Wigan made the Grand Final, but lost against Bradford Bulls. A year later, O’Connor and Wigan would taste success again as they lifted the Challenge Cup. He continued to play in the majority of Wigan’s matches until his departure in 2004 for Widnes. Only 27 players have played more for Wigan than O’Connor.

Notable mentions: Stuart Fielden, Quentin Pongia, Neil Cowie

9. Terry Newton

Newton signed for his boyhood club from Leeds Rhinos ahead of the 2000 season. He had an instant impact, helping Wigan to the Super League Grand Final. He scored 12 tries, including a hat-trick against Warrington. Newton bettered that record a year later, with 15. This also included a hat-trick against Salford. Newton finally claimed his first piece of silverware in 2002, as Wigan won the Challenge Cup. He scored tries against Hull FC, UTC  and Castleford Tigers in the buildup. He then started the final win against the Saints. Newton showed his worth again in the 2004 cup run, and scored in the final, but couldn’t stop Wigan losing. He then left a year later to go to Bradford. Tragically, Newton was found hung in his home in 2010 at the age of 31.

Notable mentions: Michael McIlorum

10. Andy Coley

The versatile forward signed for the Warriors from Salford ahead of the 2008 season. He went straight into the side, and scored his first try in a 32-20 defeat against Warrington Wolves. He went on to play a large part as Wigan won their first Super League title since 1998 in 2010. Coley scored tries against Crusaders, Huddersfield Giants and Catalans Dragons to help them to the League Leaders Shield. Coley also played in the final, as they beat bitter rivals St Helens to win the Grand Final. A year later, he played a key role as the Warriors lifted their first Challenge Cup since 2002.  He scored tries against Barrow and Warrington in early rounds, and also started in the final against Leeds Rhinos. He then retired at the end of that season, having made over 120 appearances for the Warriors.

Notable mentions: Iafeta Palea’aesina, Craig Smith, Ben Flower

11. Denis Betts

Denis Betts. Credit: News Images

Betts initially came through the academy ranks at Wigan in 1986, and was part of the highly successful side during that period. At the height of the Super League War, he left for Auckland Warriors, but returned ahead of the 1998 season. He marked his first game back with a try against St Helens in the Challenge Cup. Betts helped Wigan to the final, but they were beaten by Sheffield. Betts would also miss the Super League Grand Final through injury. He remained a vital part of the team, and helped the Warriors to another Grand Final in 2000, scoring 13 tries along the way. However, Wigan were beaten by St Helens. Betts had another productive season in 2001, as Wigan reached the Grand Final again, but were beaten. He then retired to help Wigan get under the salary cap. Betts went on to manage the Warriors in 2004.

Notable mentions: Harrison Hansen, Joel Tomkins, John Bateman,

12. Liam Farrell

Liam Farrell has been one of Wigan’s most consistent players for almost a decade. Credit: News Images

Another product of the Wigan academy, Farrell came through in 2010. He made an instant impact, scoring three tries in his first two matches against Wakefield and Harlequins respectively. He then came off the bench to help the Warriors claim the 2010 Super League title. It was then two trophies in two years for Farrell, as he started in the Challenge Cup Final victory against Leeds. 2013 saw another successful season for Farrell, as he scored 12 tries to help Wigan to another Super League title. He bettered that in 2014 with 13, but Wigan were beaten by Saints in the final. Farrell also played a big part in Wigan getting to the 2015 Grand Final, but lost for the second straight year. Injuries limited his impact in 2016, but came back for the final which they won against Warrington. Two years later, he repeated the feat, by helping Wigan to Grand Final victory over Warrington. He had started 2020 with three tries in seven matches.

Notable mentions: Ryan Hoffman, Gareth Hock,

13. Andrew Farrell

Farrell came through the Warriors academy in 1991. By the time the Super League era had started, he became Wigan captain and was named Man of Steel. He also helped the Warriors to the Premiership trophy with four goals against St Helens. He also helped them defend it a year later against the same opponents. this time, he scored a try and six goals, winning the Harry Sunderland Trophy. Farrell was a key figure as Wigan won their first Super League title of the new era. He scored three goals to help Wigan beat Leeds. In 2001, Farrell broke the record for most number of points in a season with 429. A year later, he was awarded a testimonial, and then helped Wigan to the Challenge Cup with four goals in the final against St Helens. In 2004, he was named Man of Steel for the second time, and was also awarded with the Golden Boot and was named Forward of the Year by the RLIF. Farrell scored over 3,000 points in all competitions for the Warriors and is second on England’s all-time top points scorers list.

Notable mentions: Sean O’Loughlin

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Harry
Harry
2 months ago

Some fantastic players in the 13 picked. But I would have had Sam Tomkins and Adrian Lam in my team. Sam for me is the best player of any Super league team. But some fans feel he has tainted his Wigan legacy by leaving twice.