League: Warriors and Wigan look to unite

By Michael Brown

Warriors Chief Executive Wayne Scurrah. File photo / Brett Phibbs
Warriors Chief Executive Wayne Scurrah. File photo / Brett Phibbs

The Warriors are looking to establish a formal relationship with UK Super League side Wigan they hope will result in a transfer of not only players but also ideas and opportunities.

Club arrangements are common in football but rarely exist in rugby league - the Warriors haven't had any under the current administration - but they are in the throes of establishing a formal tie-up with Wigan, who also go by the moniker Warriors.

It's not the only thing they have in common. The Warriors have signed players from Wigan in the past and general manager of football operations Dean Bell has a strong connection with both clubs as a player and in the respective football departments.

Bell and Warriors chief executive Wayne Scurrah recently travelled to the UK on a scouting mission but also to talk with clubs and agents.

"There is some potential to do something with other clubs as well but there is a natural affinity with Wigan and there are some things that will come from the discussions we have had,'' Scurrah said.

"We are looking to make it reasonably formal - something like a sister club relationship.''

That would include things like the sharing of ideas on and off the field around training and coaching, commercial opportunities, the possibility of playing pre-season games and swapping academy players for a one-year tenure.

"There will also be times when it works for players to go to the Super League and Super League players to come to the NRL,'' Scurrah added. "We don't compete on a day-to-day basis so there's no reason why it can't work for both clubs.''

The Warriors, of course, are aggressively chasing England and Wigan fullback Sam Tomkins - one player Wigan don't want to lose - and are confident of luring him to Mt Smart Stadium in 2014 even though he still has two years left on his current deal.

The Warriors are also expected to announce the signings of a couple of English players in the near future and have been linked with 20-year-old Warrington prop Glenn Riley and young Leeds prop/second-rower Jordan Baldwinson.

English players didn't always enjoy success in the NRL but that turned around with Adrian Morley and Gareth Ellis and been continued by the Burgess clan at Souths and James Graham at the Bulldogs.

England internationals Gareth Hock and Lee Mossop are joining the Eels next season and speculation continues that Tom Briscoe and Tomkins will join them in the NRL.

It will continue to rob the Super League of some of their best players and the gap between the English competition and NRL seems to be widening but the Warriors are keen to lure some of the best ones to Auckland.

"Overall the competition might not be as strong as the NRL but there are definitely some talented players in the UK,'' Scurrah said.

The Warriors enjoy the bye this weekend after four-straight wins before they tackle a Brisbane side next weekend at Mt Smart keen to atone for the 56-18 schellacking they received from the Warriors three weeks ago.

- APNZ

© Copyright 2014, APN New Zealand Limited

Assembled by: (static) on red akl_a5 at 29 Jul 2014 13:13:14 Processing Time: 301ms