2020 Review: Wigan Warriors

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Andrew Ferguson looks at the 2020 Super League campaign for the League Leaders Shield winners and Grand Finalists Wigan.

2020 was a season of near enough-but-not-good-enough for the Wigan Warriors. They dominated once again, as they always do, reaching the Challenge Cup semi-final and the Super League Grand Final, but failed to collect any silverware.

The Warriors were consistently strong all year, losing just 4 of their 17 Regular Season Super League games, bouncing back after every loss with a win. They dominated Hull FC in the Challenge Cup Quarter Final before being beaten by Leeds in the Semi.

Wigan went on to finish the year with the same number of wins as League Leaders and eventual Premiers St.Helens. They reached the Grand Final and lost a thrilling encounter on the siren when Jack Welsby scored a freakish try to give Saints an 8-4 win.

Turning Point

Challenge Cup Semi Final. Wigan came into this match having had their second string side belted by Saints 42-0. The Warriors then lost the Challenge Cup semi to Leeds. They then had 4 League games, all away from their home ground against solid and tricky outfits. Wigan beat them all then dominated Hull FC 29-2 in the Prelim to advance to the Grand Final.

What Worked

Bevan French. The speedy fullback was one of the top 3 best players of the year. He scored 15 tries in 2020, 13 in the Super League, equal with Tom Davies and behind only Ash Handley (who had 14 tries). He is pure x-factor at the back and Adrian Lam used him brilliantly throughout the year.

What Didn't Work

Clutch plays. Sure, it was only 2 games where it mattered, but it cost them a Challenge Cup Final appearance and a Super League title.

Best Player

Bevan French was dominant as already mentioned, which saw him named as Wigan's player of the year and player's player of the year. He was also named in the Super League Dream team. Liam Farrell was also a standout player, picking up Wigan's Coach's player of the year award and also being named in the Super League Dream team.

Rookies

The Warriors gave Super League debuts to 5 players in 2020. Kai Pearce-Paul, James McDonnell, Sam Halsall, Umyla Hanley (son of former Superstar Ellery Hanley) and Ben Kilner. Ethan Havard in his second season, after playing just 1 game last year, was named as Wigan's Young Player of the Year.

Looking Ahead

Wigan has picked up two very good signings for 2021, with young NRL half Jai Field and England Test player and former Canberra Raider John Bateman returning to the club after 2 seasons in the NRL. While the signings are impressive, Wigan will see 11 of their 2020 squad departing the club.

Morgan Escare, Joe Burgess and Jack Wells are all heading to Salford, Craig Mullen and Ben Flower will be going to Leigh, Max Roberts, James Barran and Ben Holcroft will line up for Oldham, Harry Rushton will try his hand at the NRL with the Canberra Raiders, Nathan Wilde will line up for Newcastle and club legend Sean O'Loughlin has retired.

Wigan has culled a lot of depth players, however they still have a very strong all-round side, meaning they will be a top 4 side comfortably, yet again.

2020 results

RoundDateOppositionResultScoreCoachCaptainVenue
SL R1Jan 30thWarringtonW16 - 10LamO'LoughlinDW Stadium
SL R2Feb 7thCastlefordL12 - 16LamO'LoughlinMend-a-Hose
SL R4Feb 23rdHull FCW26 - 12LamLeuluaiDW Stadium
SL R5Mar 1stHuddersfieldW42 - 10LamLeuluaiJohn Smith's
SL R6Mar 8thHull KRW30 - 16LamLeuluaiDW Stadium
SL R7Mar 13thSalfordL14 - 18LamLeuluaiAJ Bell
SL R8Aug 9thWakefieldW23 - 22LamLeuluaiEmerald Headingley
SL R9Aug 16thLeedsW28 - 10LamFarrellTotally Wicked
SL R18Aug 30thCastlefordW30 - 22LamLeuluaiHalliwell Jones
SL R11Sep 3rdHull KRL18 - 34LamFarrellEmerald Headingley
SL R10Sep 12thCatalansW28 - 12LamLeuluaiGilbert Brutus
CC QFSep 19thHull FCW36 -  4LamO'LoughlinAJ Bell
SL R13Sep 25thWakefieldW28 - 16LamLeuluaiHalliwell Jones
SL R14Sep 29thSt HelensL 0 - 42LamGreenwoodAJ Bell
CC SFOct 3rdLeedsL12 - 26LamO'LoughlinTotally Wicked
SL R15Oct 9thWarringtonW18 - 14LamO'LoughlinEmerald Headingley
SL R17Oct 23rdSalfordW58 - 12LamLeuluaiTotally Wicked
SL R19Oct 30thSt HelensW18 -  6LamLeuluaiTotally Wicked
SL R20Nov 6thHuddersfieldW19 -  6LamLeuluaiEmerald Headingley
SS PFNov 19thHull FCW29 -  2LamO'LoughlinDW Stadium
SS GFNov 27thSt HelensL 4 -  8LamO'LoughlinKCOM Stadium