Wigan enjoyed something of a mixed year in 2020; on the one hand, they finished top of Super League, but they also exited the Challenge Cup at the semi-final stages and were within a whisker of winning the Super League Grand Final.
To bolster his squad, head coach Adrian Lam has brought in former fans’ favourite John Bateman and Australian Jai Field, with the number of those exiting the club hitting double figures.
Fullback – Bevan French
Nominated for the 2020 Man of Steel, Bevan French narrowly missed out on the main award, but he still had an incredible first full season at the DW Stadium. The fleet-footed number one was second in the top try-scoring charts with 12 and will be aiming for more of the same in 2021.
Wingers – Dom Manfredi and Liam Marshall
Despite Jake Bibby operating well towards the back end of 2020, Manfredi and Marshall are likely to be handed the starting wingers’ spots. Though both suffered with injury throughout last season, the duo will be wanting to hit the ground running in 2021.
Centres – Zak Hardaker and Oliver Gildart
After a long layoff with injury, Gildart managed to register nine appearances for Wigan after lockdown whilst Hardaker was one of the Warriors’ most consistent following his permanent move to the centres. Both will also have one eye on the World Cup at the end of the year.
Halves – Jai Field and Tommy Leuluai
New signing Jai Field will start alongside veteran Leuluai. One of Wigan’s most impressive players since rejoining the club in 2017 whilst livewire Australian halfback Field, will certainly add another exciting dimension
Props – Brad Singleton and Joe Bullock
Singleton joined midway through the 2020 season from the departing Toronto Wolfpack and made an instant impression, becoming the cornerstone of the Warriors pack. Meanwhile, Joe Bullock has been rewarded for some stellar performances in 2020 with the number ten, insinuating his role in the starting lineup.
Hooker – Sam Powell
Powell went up a gear in 2020, having what can only be described as his best season yet in a Wigan jersey. And, at 28, the number nine still has many years to give.
Second-rowers – Willie Isa and Liam Farrell
The first two names on the Wigan teamsheet, Isa and Farrell have been incredible servants for Wigan over the years and there’s more chance of the moon freezing over than these two losing their place.
Loose-forward – John Bateman
Who else but Bateman to take over from Sean O’Loughlin? He was a Wigan hero before he left to join Canberra two years ago and he returns a Canberra hero having enamoured himself to the Green Machine faithful. Bateman sums up the Wigan way: tough, determined to win and will not take a backwards step.
Subs: Oliver Partington, Morgan Smithies, Jackson Hastings, Ethan Havard