Wigan Warriors 2024 season preview

Wigan Warriors 2024 season preview

2023 recap

The Warriors had a fantastic 2023 as they were crowned Super League Champions for the first time since 2018, and they picked up the League Leaders Shield, too. The year started with a disappointing 27-18 defeat at Hull KR and there were a handful of poor results throughout the year – most notably a 46-22 thrashing at Magic Weekend by Catalans, which was followed up by a 34-16 defeat at arch rivals, St Helens. However, after a heartbreaking 11-10 loss to Hull KR in the Challenge Cup Semi-Final, Wigan went on a 10-game winning run, which culminated in them getting revenge on the Dragons, with a 10-2 win in the Grand Final.

2023 position: 1st

Key signings

Kruise Leeming (Gold Coast Titans), Sam Walters (Leeds Rhinos), Tiaki Chan (Catalans Dragons), Adam Keighran (Catalans Dragons), Luke Thompson (Canterbury Bulldogs), Sam Eseh (Wakefield Trinity)

Key departures

Kai Pearce-Paul (Newcastle Knights), Logan Astley (Oldham), Cade Cust (Salford Red Devils), Iain Thornley (Wakefield Trinity), Kieran Tyrer (Oldham), Morgan Smithies (Canberra Raiders), Sam Powell (Warrington Wolves), Joe Shorrocks (Salford Red Devils), Ramon Silva (Barrow Raiders), Toby King (Warrington Wolves, end of loan)

Players to watch

There’ll be plenty of pressure on Luke Thompson to perform after his return from the NRL. The former St Helens prop was one of Super League’s premier forwards before he went to Australia, and he showed flashes of his ability Down Under, although his time at the Bulldogs was largely blighted by injury. A fit and firing Thompson will be a major asset to the Warriors if he can steer clear of injuries.

Jai Field needs no introduction to Super League fans, and he’s become one of the poster boys of the competition. The Aussie fullback is one of the most electrifying players in the league and is capable of producing something out of nothing from anywhere on the pitch. He’s here to stay, too, after signing a new four-year contract ahead of the 2024 season.

Young gun

Harvie Hill impressed when called upon in 2023, and the 20-year-old prop will be hopeful of more opportunities this year. The academy product made 14 appearances last year and even received a call-up for England Knights, so I’m expecting to see plenty more of him in 2024.

Our prediction – 1st

I can’t see anyone overtaking the Warriors this year, at least not in the regular season. They’ve had some big losses – Kai Pearce-Paul, Toby King and Morgan Smithies – jump out, but I’ve been really impressed with their recruitment ahead of 2024, and on paper I think the squad’s at least as strong as it was last year, if not slightly more so. The WCC against Penrith Panthers will be a big chance for them to make a statement, but whatever happens in that, any club that finishes higher than them in Super League will win the League Leaders Shield.

Darren Notley

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