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“We can’t keep them all” – Wigan Warriors CEO discusses salary cap challenges

Wigan Warriors are the dominant force in Rugby League in the UK at the moment and look set to enter another era of dominance of the sport. Fans of a certain vintage will remember the Wigan side of the 90s regularly lifting silverware as they assembled a team of all talents, Matt Peet’s side looks set to do the same.

Wigan’s Challenge Cup win completed a historic clean sweep of silverware available to the side. Wigan currently sit top of the Super League table with a two-point lead and a game in hand. It would take a brave person to bet against them lifting more silverware this year.

Chief Executive, Kris Radlinski, has been instrumental in masterminding Wigan’s return to the top of the sport. Under his leadership, Wigan have tied down their top playing and coaching talent to long-term deals, giving the club the stability that is hard to achieve in a salary cap sport.

Now, Radlinski has discussed the challenges of keeping a squad together in the salary cap era and how he plans to refresh his squad.

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“We can’t keep them all” – Wigan Warriors CEO discusses salary cap challenges

Wigan Warriors

Credit: Imago Images

Wigan’s squad depth is the envy of most Super League clubs, with few able to boast the same riches of talent as the Cherry and Whites. Wigan lost Adam Keighran and Tyler Dupree on the verge of the Challenge Cup final, however, through a combination of their fruitful youth academy and sound recruitment, they had the depth to manage the crisis comfortably.

However, Wigan still have to operate within the same salary cap restrictions as the rest of the league and Radlinski believes that Wigan may have to lose players in order to give their young talent the opportunity to develop their careers. Speaking on the Eddie and Stevo podcast, Radlinski said:

“It’s a big cycle isn’t it? We’ve got a couple of players at the end who are coming to the end of their careers but then the exciting thing is that we’ve got players at the start of their journey who are going to do some great things.” Radlinski said.

“So we’ve got to start investing in these players and making sure we’re creating opportunities for them to stay at the club longer as well. So it’s a big cycle and we can’t keep them all, not in a salary-cap sport”.

Who Wigan are willing to sacrifice remains to be seen, as the club looks to build on their dominance next season. A number of players have left the club on short-term deals this year, including off-season recruits Sam Eseh and Tiaki Chan. Both will hope to have a future at Wigan but have found playing time limited this season.

Veteran front-rower Mike Cooper is also out of contract at the end of the year and looks likely to leave the club at the end of his current deal, having not been offered new terms.

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