Wigan Warriors have confirmed a new youth development structure for the 2023 season as they look to continue their conveyor belt of talent coming into their first team system.
Former player Darrell Goulding is leaving his role as Head of Youth with Shane Eccles taking up the mantle and former Leigh Centurions coach John Duffy joining as Academy Head Coach.
Goulding played over 175 times for the Warriors and over saw their success in the U-19 Grand Finals in 2017 and 2018.
On his departure, Goulding said: “It has been a really tough decision to leave the club, especially with the love I have. However, I have recently had my first child and want to spend more time with him. The club and youth department are in a great place and will only go from strength to strength.”
His replacement Eccles has been with Wigan in the academy set up since 2015 through a variety of roles and has also been involved in England and Lancashire academy systems.
Wigan Head Coach Matt Peet was full of praise for Eccles as he embarks on his new role with the club.
“Shane is perfectly positioned to lead the department to another level having worked so hard in a range of roles in player development,” said Peet. “He is already a highly valued member of our team and his new role emphasises that.”
Duffy comes into his role as Academy Head Coach with a vast amount of experience. The former Leigh player and coach brings over 70 games of first team coaching experience with him to the academy game a move which only supports Wigan’s commitment to bringing through the best youth.
Head Coach Peet also echoes these thoughts as he believes Duffy is a great recruit for Wigan.
Peet said: “John brings to Wigan a wealth of experience and passion for helping players maximise their talents. Personally, I am really excited to share ideas with John, And I know his expertise and work ethic will benefit the club, coaching team and ultimately the players.”
“I am delighted the club continues to invest in the Academy, underlining our ethos of developing home grown talent as a priority.”
As a club renowned for bringing through some of the best players this country has to offer, Wigan’s attitude and continued commitment to their academy with this restructure means their success looks set to continue.