Wigan Warriors greatest XIII of the Super League era

Published: 12/04/2018 at 2:49pm | Author: Mike Andrews | Category: Super League

1. Kris Radlinski

Playing over 300 times for Wigan before injury ruined his career, ‘Radders’ was arguably the best full-back of the early Super League years. I’ve picked him over Sam Tomkins simply because I feel that he was at his best for longer than Tomkins. Unfortunately for Tomkins, Injury has kerbed his progression in recent times.

2. Jason Robinson

‘Billy Whizz’ was the best winger in the early years of Super League, maybe even the best ever. His rip-roaring speed meant that he destroyed everybody, and often scored sensational tries. He scored the winning try for Wigan in the first Grand Final, then went on to win a World Cup with the other code in 2003.

3. Gary Connolly

One of the most naturally gifted players ever to play the game. He could operate at full-back or centre but he was at his best in the centres, in my opinion. He represented Wigan over 300 times and scored over 130 tries.

4. George Carmont

Carmont reminds me a lot of Keith Senior; big, powerful and a nightmare to play against. He had a fantastic defensive game as well, and in 2008, he was named in the Super League Dream Team after a brilliant debut season at the Warriors. He ended his Wigan career as a league leaders’ shield winner in 2012 after making over 150 appearances. 

5. Pat Richards

Big Pat Richards was phenomenal for Wigan during his time at the club. Not only could he kick 55 metre drop goals, but was an exceptional finisher and was priceless for the Warriors. He played over 200 times for Wigan and kicked an incredible 2468 points. Richards was a fantastic all round winger and was named the 2010 Steve Prescott Man of Steel, helping the cherry and whites to the Super League title that year.

6. Trent Barrett

Barrett arrived at Wigan during a difficult period but was exceptional during his time at the club. The mercurial Australian half-back played two seasons with the cherry and whites and impressively scored 26 tries in 60 games. He was simply the glue that not only held the team together but controlled them through most Super League matches, helping Wigan become a force again after a tough few years.

7. Adrian Lam

The stick of PNG dynamite was truly world class. He ripped it up for the Sydney Roosters in the NRL then ventured to the Warriors were he played almost 120 times, scoring over 40 tries. For me, he edges out Thomas Leuluai from the side on pure talent and ability alone, despite Leuluai’s continued contribution to the Warriors’ cause.

8. Terry O’Connor

Now making his name as a Sky Sports TV pundit, O’Connor was once one of the best props in Super League, often duelling with good friend Barrie McDermott when Leeds faced Wigan in the early 2000’s. O’Connor played for the Warriors over 300 times, and then went on to represent Widnes Vikings before retiring. He was a 14-time Great Britain international, also.

9. Terry Newton

The great Terry Newton was feared when he played for Leeds, but especially when he played for Wigan. He played for the Warriors over 180 times, representing Great Britain in the process. He was naturally gifted in every aspect of being a hooker – resilient, hard-tackling, strong and intelligent. Ask most players of that era and they’ll say Newton was one of the hardest players of the time. Sadly, his death cut his career and his life tragically short, and the game hasn’t seen anyone like him since.

10. Stuart Fielden

The prop that saved Wigan from relegation! In 2006 the Warriors were in such a mess that relegation beckoned for the great Lancashire side. To save them, they turned to powerhouse prop Stuart Field and paid £450,000 for his services, which at the time was the biggest cash only transfer of the era. He helped save them from the drop and went on to represent the club over 130 times, winning varied honours at the club.

11. Denis Betts

This is a big position to fill. There’s Liam Farrell and Mick Cassidy that also deserve a spot in this team but given the quality of Betts during his time, you can understand the exclusion of those fantastic players. Betts’ was plagued by injuries but there’s no denying the quality he possessed. He represented Great Britain 32 times, the last of which was in 1999.

12. Andy Farrell

One of, if not, the greatest player in the Super League era. I’ve picked him slightly out of position in the second-row because of who is to come. Faz is up there with Saints legend Paul Sculthorpe and Leeds legends Kevin Sinfield and Jamie Peacock as the best ever. The man carried the Warriors at times, and often played his best when it counted, usually against arch-rivals Saints. Faz is one of hardest men to play the sport and once broke his nose so badly in a game against Leeds he had to have it strapped to his face. He represented Wigan 370 times and Great Britain 34 times, and scored over 3,000 points for the Warriors.

13. Sean O’Loughlin

The best since Andy Farrell Wigan fans say. The current England captain, even at 34, plays some of his best rugby for the club. Without Lockers, the team suffers, and he is one player who could have certainly gone to the NRL and had a big impact.  He is the best player Wigan have produced since Andy Farrell and is a superb leader and role model to younger players. Representing Wigan over 400 times to date, winning numerous honours, the man leads with actions and not his words which is what has made him so brilliant to watch. 

Bench

Thomas Leuluai – 220+ appearances so far

Mick Cassidy – 368 appearances

Harrison Hansen – 242 appearances

Sam Tomkins – 200+ appearances so far