A pre-match speech from one of Wigan Warriors’ greatest ever players helped inspire their derby win over St Helens.
Wigan secured a top-two Super League finish with a convincing win over their greatest rivals at the DW Stadium last week, watched by Andy Farrell.
Farrell made 370 appearances in 14 years at the club, winning six league titles and four Challenge Cups as well as twice claiming the Man of Steel award, before switching to rugby union, where he is now Ireland head coach.
His address struck a chord with players, including another Wigan lad in Liam Marshall.
“I met him when I was kid, really young,” said Marshall, who scored a thrilling try in the win.
“I was watching my dad here, I think it was a tag rugby game before the game and he introduced me to him. That’s probably my earliest Wigan memory.
“Watching him on the sideline, he’s probably one of the best players to have ever played for this club. I have a massive respect for him.
“You could see pre-game when he spoke, everyone’s eyes were fixed on him. He was speaking from the heart as a Wigan lad who’s done it all. It was a massive privilege to have him.”
Not that Marshall ever needs much inspiration ahead of a Saints derby.
“These are the games you want to play in and want to win. This one was even more significant with the things riding on it for them if they’d won, and we’ve secured second place which is massive.
“It was a good all-round performance. It’s given us a bit of confidence for the back end of the year.”
Head coach Matt Peet has put great focus on emphasising Wigan’s history as part of the culture being instilled in the present team.
Peet said of Farrell: “He was inspirational as you would expect. It’s all those little things, connecting the present team with the past and making them aware of what this club stands for.
“Winning is great, but it was the manner he played and conducted himself that makes him a Wigan legend.”
With a home play-off semi-final confirmed, Matt Peet will rotate his squad for the final two rounds of the regular season.
He will be waiting anxiously on the results of a scan on Liam Farrell’s knee injury.
Meanwhile, Wigan will sign centre Toby King on loan from Warrington Wolves for the 2023 season.
“I’m really excited to meet everyone involved at this prestigious club and compete at the very top for some trophies,” said King, who has fallen out of favour at Warrington and is currently on loan at Huddersfield Giants.
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