Wigan Warriors’ Tyler Dupree proud of ‘whirlwind’ five-year journey

WIGAN forward Tyler Dupree will celebrate a significant anniversary if he is selected for his side’s forthcoming Challenge Cup semi-final against Hull KR.

The game will be played at Doncaster’s Eco-Power Stadium on Saturday, May 18 and it will mark five years to the day since Dupree played only his second professional game as a debutant for York in the Summer Bash at Blackpool.

Dupree by then had already made his professional debut for Featherstone in the final of the Championship Shield in 2018, when as an 18-year-old he was loaned from Leeds to solve a Rovers injury crisis, scoring a try in a 42-10 defeat of Leigh.

Again on loan, he made his club debut for the Knights in Blackpool, this time against Featherstone, where Rovers registered an identical 42-10 victory, with Dupree this time on the losing side.

“It was a disappointing game because we lost, but it was good for me to play against men and it made me realise how much I had to improve,” reflected Dupree.

He admits that on that day five years ago, he would have struggled to imagine that he would be playing in a Challenge Cup semi-final for Wigan five year later.

“Definitely not. It’s been a whirlwind of a journey and I never expected the outcomes I’ve had so far. My main goal then was just to enjoy playing rugby,” he said.

“I hadn’t realised the dates were the same, but when you put it into perspective, it really illustrates the journey I’ve been on. It’s exciting to reflect on what has happened in those five years, both for me and for the teams I’ve been at. We’ll be looking forward to that game and hopefully we can take the next step.”

Dupree was released by Leeds in 2020 and joined Oldham for the following season, where he was voted the League One Young Player of the Year.

He signed signed for Widnes for the 2022 season but in May that year he joined Salford, staying with the Red Devils until Wigan swooped in July last year.

“I came to Wigan because I wanted to progress my career and myself as a person,” says Dupree.

“Since I’ve been here, everything has been a positive for me.

“(Wigan coach) Matty Peet believed in me and that has gone a long way with me.

“He has a good balance and he tells me how I can improve. Not many people can manage the way he does. I think he’s a great coach and a great man.

“Some coaches are team orientated and others are structure orientated but Matt covers both those elements.

“I felt welcome at Wigan right from when I first came here. This is a very family-orientated club and it showed when they allowed my mum to present my debut jersey.

“Everything at Wigan is done with a purpose. And everybody has bought into it.

“It’s like being at an international camp every day. The facilities are great and if you need anything, they’ll make sure they get it for you.

“The pre-season was what I was looking forward to most. It was scary, but it has benefited me massively and helped me come to terms with the culture of the club.”

First published in League Express newspaper, Issue 3,428 (April 29, 2024)

Click here to purchase a digital edition of League Express.

Click here to purchase an online edition of League Express through pocketmags.com.

Click here to listen to our new League Express Podcast.

League Express is widely available from local newsagents across the north of England.