22nd April 2020, 12:20 | 125

#RFL125 Greatest Coach Contender | Shaun Wane

#RFL125 Greatest Coach Contender | Shaun Wane

A period of sustained success at Wigan Warriors

The latest #RFL125 poll is now live and voting is open for the Greatest Coach! 

There are five legendary coaches up for selection and the first is Shaun Wane who enjoyed prolonged success with Wigan Warriors between 2011 and 2018. 

Wigan Warriors

Wane succeeded Michael Maguire – after two years as his Assistant Coach - at the end of the 2011 season, with the latter returning to Australia to coach in the NRL. 

The Wigan-born Coach had enjoyed an eight-year spell with the club as a player between 1982 and 1990 winning every trophy available.

His first season as Wigan Head Coach saw him guide the club to the League Leaders’ Shield edging out rivals Warrington Wolves by one point. However, the Warriors fell short in the Super League play-offs suffering a 12-13 defeat to Leeds Rhinos.

Despite missing out on the Super League title, Wane had lifted his first piece of silverware and had begun work on building a formidable team. Josh Charnley and Sam Tomkins finished the 2012 season with 31 and 29 tries apiece in Super League.

A slow start in 2013 prevented Wigan from challenging for another League Leaders’ Shield but the Warriors would find form at the right time under Wane as he would guide the club to their first double since 1995.

Wigan earned a comfortable 0-16 victory over Hull FC at Wembley Stadium in August before a Super League Grand Final win against Warrington Wolves in October. Charnley managed to increase his try-scoring to 33 for the 2013 season while Tomkins was electric once more as Wane led Wigan to Grand Final success from 4th place. 

2014 was a year of near misses for Wane and Wigan with local rivals narrowly beating them to the League Leaders’ Shield before beating them at Old Trafford. Unfortunately, 2015 followed a similar pattern for the Warriors who missed out on the League Leaders’ Shield to Leeds following Ryan Hall’s last-second try before the Rhinos beat Wigan at Old Trafford 22-20. 

Wigan entered the 2016 season determined to rectify the previous two seasons and, despite missing out on the League Leaders’ Shield and Challenge Cup, they went on to lift the big one at Old Trafford at the expense of Warrington once again. Academy products Charnley and Oliver Gildart would be the scorers on a memorable evening for Wane and Wigan.

The 2017 season didn’t see Wane lift any domestic silverware with the Warriors, but the club did earn the honour of being named ‘Best in the World’ when they defeat NRL Premiers Cronulla Sharks at the DW Stadium in February. A Joe Burgess hat-trick was the catalyst for an almost-perfect performance from Wane’s side which saw Wigan lift the World Club Challenge for the first time since 1994; a trophy they had become synonymous with in the late 1980s and early 1990s. 

Wane announced he would leave Wigan following the culmination of the 2018 season which meant one more Super League Grand Final success would be all that more poignant. The Warriors finished 2nd in the regular season, ten points behind St Helens but closed the gap to six following the Super 8s having beaten Saints at the Totally Wicked Stadium in the process.

On an unforgettable evening at Old Trafford, Wigan beat Warrington in a Super League Grand Final for the third time under Wane. Friend turned foe Charnley crossed for Warrington, but new Academy products Dom Manfredi and Tom Davies provided the tries for Wigan to see them to a 12-4 victory.

The game was a fitting ending to Wane’s time at Wigan while the scorers on his final evening as Head Coach pointed to the culture he had built and legacy he had left at Wigan; one of producing and nurturing local talent. 

In total, during Wane’s stint as Wigan Head Coach, a massive 41 Academy products were handed their debuts including the likes of George Williams, Sam Powell, Joe Burgess, Dom Manfredi, Ryan Sutton, Oliver Gildart and Oliver Partington.

Wane’s finished his seven-year tenure at the DW Stadium with a win percentage of almost 70% and has recently been appointed to the England Head Coach position as they look to win the Rugby League World Cup on home soil in 2021. 


League Leaders’ Shield (2012)

Challenge Cup (2013)

Super League (2013, 2016, 2018)

World Club Challenge (2017)


Cast your vote for the Greatest Coach here!