Wigan coach Shaun Wane insists the Warriors will be able to cope with the significant turnover at the club looming on the horizon at the end of this season: which includes himself.
Ryan Sutton was confirmed as the latest member of Wigan’s squad to leave at the end of this season, after he agreed a deal to join Canberra. He joins fellow team-mate Sam Tomkins, who is joining Catalans, and Wane himself, who will step down as head coach.
Doubts also remain about the future of players like John Bateman and captain Sean O’Loughlin – but irrespective of that, Wane says past experiences have proven Wigan can survive high-quality players leaving.
“It’s never bothered me, the turnover,” he said.
“We’ve had lots of people come and go; Lee Mossop, Sam and Joel Tomkins, Pat Richards, Mark Riddell.. and we’ve always fixed it because we have a good system and good kids.
“It’s never stressed me and it doesn’t stress me now. Whatever happens next year, they’ll have a squad of players capable of competing. I’m just part of a big wheel and we’ve got a lot of quality people at Orrell and at Central Park. We’re a good club and we have to improve on things, but the structures are there.”
Wane also admits he would have preferred Sutton to have remained at Wigan for a few more years before fulfilling his NRL potential – but believes he does stand a chance of making a success of his time with the Raiders.
“It’s good for him,” he said of the prop’s move.
“Personally, I’d have liked for him to stay here a few more years, but he’s chosen that route and good luck to him. I’ll help him in any way I can. I think he needed a few more years here before being ready but he sees himself as being ready now.
“I don’t watch Canberra that often – but I will do now he’s there – but I want them to see the best of him. I know he’s going on tour with England Knights but he needs as long a pre-season as possible. I would advise him to go straight there from Papua New Guinea, not have a break and make sure they see the best of him because they’ve got a quality player. I think there’s a chance he can make it: I really hope he makes it a success but it’s going to be tough – he’ll be up against it with some big middles.”