first_imgReuse this content Twitter Sam Tomkins keen to go out with a Grand Final bang for beloved Wigan Since you’re here… Facebook Share on Twitter interviews Shaun Wane has been Wigan coach since 2011. Photograph: Martin Rickett/PA Share on Messenger Wigan Warriors Read more It is often a thankless task trying to get a read on the stony-faced Shaun Wane and his emotions, but as the record buttons were pressed in front of the Wigan coach this week it was fairly simple to work out what was about to happen.For 35 years – barring a short spell with Leeds in the early 1990s – Wigan has been all that he has known. From a boot-cleaning academy prospect to the uncompromising front-rower who made his name as a player; from overseeing the Warriors’ junior development to delivering trophy after trophy with his beloved home-town club, Wane has seen and done it all with Wigan. Share on WhatsApp … we have a small favour to ask. More people, like you, are reading and supporting the Guardian’s independent, investigative journalism than ever before. And unlike many news organisations, we made the choice to keep our reporting open for all, regardless of where they live or what they can afford to pay. Whether we are up close or further away, the Guardian brings our readers a global perspective on the most critical issues of our lifetimes – from the escalating climate catastrophe to widespread inequality to the influence of big tech on our lives. We believe complex stories need context in order for us to truly understand them. At a time when factual information is a necessity, we believe that each of us, around the world, deserves access to accurate reporting with integrity at its heart.Our editorial independence means we set our own agenda and voice our own opinions. Guardian journalism is free from commercial and political bias and not influenced by billionaire owners or shareholders. This means we can give a voice to those less heard, explore where others turn away, and rigorously challenge those in power.We hope you will consider supporting us today. We need your support to keep delivering quality journalism that’s open and independent. Every reader contribution, however big or small, is so valuable. Support The Guardian from as little as $1 – and it only takes a minute. Thank you. A year later, he leaves with his head held high knowing he has achieved that while maintaining the club’s core principle of developing the stars of the future. “I always wanted to go out on a high but I was contractually obliged to tell the club in the middle of the year I was leaving,” he says of his resignation. “I had to inform them so they could have time to get somebody else as well.”But what makes this situation all the more difficult for Wane is that his job in 2019 will be outside rugby league. A self-confessed obsessive about other sports, the 54-year-old will take on a part-time role with Scottish Rugby while also entertaining the clients of his local building company. It is not an understatement to suggest the transition out of league holds some trepidation.“I thought it was time for me to do something else in my career,” he says. “It’s the right time. I’m leaving a job where I work eight days a week, and I’ve done that for years, to one or two days a week with Scotland, so that’s going to take some getting used to. The business is in Wigan, so that’ll take some of my time up thankfully. But going into a job where I’m not doing that much? I’ll need to get my head around that.”Wane will spend his free time watching Wigan and it is clear that even though he is yet to start his new job, his heart is already set on a return to league one day. “My wife is already panicking about me,” he says in a rare moment of laughter in an otherwise emotional discussion.“I do think I’ll be back. I’m a league man so never say never. I’ll carry on living in Wigan and commute up to Scotland, and I’ll watch Wigan. It’ll be very different, that’s what I’m worried about.” Yet before the transition begins there is still one last game, and one last team talk – the easiest he will ever deliver, he admitted – as coach of the club he has given most of his life to. Steve Price’s Warrington primed to finally end a 63-year title drought Super League XXIII (2018) Next season the former Wigan scrum-half Adrian Lam will be coach. Wane’s goal? To set the bar as high as possible for Lam with the fifth major trophy of his tenure. “This job is not an easy job – you have to win and you have to know the expectations of the fans,” Wane adds. “I’m out of my comfort zone so much talking about myself: I just need the team to stay focused.”For once, Wane will have to accept he is the centre of attention. This week he was named Super League’s coach of the year for the first time, an accolade many believe should have been bestowed on him far earlier.Does he feel as though his work as Wigan coach has gone unappreciated? “I don’t need recognition from everyone,” he says. “I think the genuine rugby league people understand what I’ve done and that’ll do for me. I don’t need big fanfares or things like that, I just need rugby league folk to recognise I’ve done a decent job.”If his love affair with Wigan ends in the perfect way on Saturday evening there is surely no one who would doubt that. Share on Facebook Rugby league Share on LinkedIn Read more And this is what makes it all the more difficult to try to understand why, after Saturday’s Grand Final against Warrington, his association with the club he adores will grind to a sudden halt. Rugby league people are often very good at keeping their emotions guarded but here, mere minutes into the questioning, there is a lengthy pause as Wane tries to gather himself.“It’s upsetting, no question” is how Wane eventually responds when asked if he has considered how he will feel on Sunday morning, knowing his time with the Warriors will be over. This is not a one-off occurrence throughout the course of the session. There are pauses, frequent breaks in a voice which has become renowned as one of the most fearsome in the game – and even the hint of a tear.“I don’t cry much – although I’ve just got upset then, haven’t I?” Wane admits as he slowly composes his emotions. “It’s a big step for me. Thirty-five years is a long time; I was brought up 200 metres away from the ground so it’s in my blood. But it was my call, and I’m going to have to tough it out and that’s the way it is.”Irrespective of Saturday’s result, Wane will leave Wigan a hero having won every major trophy during his time in charge. He has overseen one of the most successful periods in their history – which is no mean feat for a club such as Wigan – albeit interspersed with the odd low point. The nadir? Arguably last season, when Wigan finished sixth and some doubted whether Wane could restore them as a major force. Share via Email Topics Share on Pinterest Support The Guardian Super League Pinterest last_img

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *