Wigan confirm 2018 squad numbers – with an interesting change.

Wigan Warriors have today released their squad numbers ahead of the 2018 season – and there is an interesting change in coach Shaun Wane’s first 13.

The Warriors, who will be looking to bounce back from last season’s disappointing sixth-placed finish, have revealed that hooker Sam Powell will wear number seven – with Tommy Leuluai vacating that shirt to take the number nine previously worn by Michael McIlorum.

It perhaps hints that Powell is to be given more opportunities at half-back this season – the position he played predominantly as a youngster.

Warriors Executive Director Kris Radlinski said: “Having completed our squad for 2018 with the recent finalisation of Michael McIlorum and Anthony Gelling, we are now in a position to release squad numbers for the upcoming season.

“Squad numbers are always of great interest to fans – even more so this season because of the exciting options in attack which Shaun Wane has available – and we felt it important to put in perspective some of the squad numbers announced. The squad numbers give only an indication as to what positions players will play and key combinations are constantly being worked on in training, particularly in the “spine-of-the-team” key positions at fullback, halfback, hooker and loose forward.

“We are well aware of the desire by fans and coaches alike for Wigan to be seen to play exciting and attractive rugby but this has to be balanced also with the need to be effective – ie: to win games. Shaun and his coaches are working to achieve both of these objectives and is blessed with very good options at fullback, halfback and hooker.

“Tommy Leuluai is named at number 9 in his international position of hooker and Sean O’Loughlin is captaining the side at number 13 giving Wigan the base of a highly-experienced and capable spine plus the excitement of George Williams in the halves, determined to show England and Wigan fans exactly what he is capable of after a frustrating six months.

“The other halfback position will be taken either by Sam Tomkins or Sam Powell and fullback by Sam Tomkins or Morgan Escaré (after he achieves full fitness) with those decisions being taken by Shaun Wane and his team as the season develops.

“Consequently, Sam Powell is named with the Number 7 shirt, having proven over years to be an invaluable organising member of the squad, but may spend time at hooker. The blend of form, fitness and performance on the field will determine positions as the season develops but with a determination to play exciting rugby as well as being organised to win.

“Having finished last season so disappointingly, it has been a long off-season and the players are hungry to put things right and get back out on the field. We want to play effective Rugby and win games but realise the importance of attractive Rugby to the matchday experience and hope that this competition for “spine” places will help reinvigorate the team.”

Amongst a number of changes, Tony Clubb is rewarded for a string of fine performances in 2017 with the number 8 shirt whilst joint Young Player of the Year, Tom Davies, is handed number 2. The returning Dan Sarginson takes number 3 with close-season recruit Gabriel Hamlin handed Number 30. Ryan Sutton (15), Morgan Escaré (20) and Liam Marshall (22) all take on new numbers ahead of the start of the season.

Wigan Warriors 2018 Squad Numbers

(2017 number in brackets if changed)

1. Sam Tomkins
2. Tom Davies (36)
3. Dan Sarginson
4. Oliver Gildart
5. Joe Burgess
6. George Williams
7. Sam Powell (16)
8. Tony Clubb (15)
9. Thomas Leuluai (7)
10. Ben Flower
11. Joel Tomkins
12. Liam Farrell
13. Sean O’Loughlin
14. John Bateman
15. Ryan Sutton (19)
16. Frank-Paul Nuuausala (8)
17. Taulima Tautai
19. Willie Isa (20)
20. Morgan Escaré (22)
21. Dom Manfredi (2)
22. Liam Marshall (35)
23. Josh Ganson (33)
24. Jake Shorrocks (25)
25. Romain Navarrete (26)
26. Jack Wells (28)
27. Callum Field (37)
28. Liam Forsyth (32)
29. Jack Higginson
30. Gabriel Hamlin
31. Joe Bretherton (24)
32. Caine Barnes (38)
33. Macauley Davies (31)
34. Josh Woods (39)
35. Oliver Partington (40)
36. Samuel Kibula
37. James Worthington (41)
38. Craig Mullen
39. Liam Paisley