12th October 2018, 07:20 | Wigan
Wigan Warriors coach Shaun Wane has one more game to add to his own Wigan legacy, a legacy that started at 14-years-old. 40-years later his affinity with the club grows ever stronger even though his departure draws closer, he is still the same Wigan lad, Wigan through and through.
At 14-years-old a young Wane was invited to Wigan after impressing for St Pats by George Fairburn and signed his first professional contract at 16.
“I was invited down by George Fairburn and I was training with all the players at 14 years old, but I was quite big for my age.
“I remember seeing all my heroes, I’d been watching them since I was four of five.
“I never thought I would end up playing for them and I never thought I would end up coaching them and have the success I’ve had,” said Wane.
Wane will cross-codes and head to Scotland as a high-performance coach, six years as Wigan’s head coach and five trophies it was a difficult decision, Wigan is his blood and so is Rugby League.
“It was tough, no question. Thirty years is a long time. I was brought up 200 metres away from that ground, it’s in my blood.
“I’m a league man, but it was my call. I’m going to have to tough it out.
“It’s my dream job and I still feel the same way.
“There’s no other job that I’d want. But I’ve chosen to resign for my own personal reasons, and I think I’ve done my bit for the club.”
Wane regards his coaching role as ‘the best job in the world,’ and who could argue with him when in a position to coach his home team and his friends.
“The most important thing is the cultures good, the lads are very respectful and they’re aggressive on the field. Without a doubt the best job in the world.”
“These players are my mates – I go to their christenings and their weddings and their birthdays.
“Me and my wife are family friends with most of the players so when it comes to games I’ll be in, I’ll be having a pint with my mates no-ones not going to see me at the ground.
“The players won’t see me at training, I’ll just be enjoying the game like everyone else. Just going to try and enjoy the game, for once!”
Wane won Super League Coach of the Year at the Man of Steel Awards on Monday night, on Saturday night he’ll be hoping to end his tenure and magical week at Wigan with another trophy.
“There might be a touch of emotion in it, but my mind set at the minute is all about game plan, executing the game plan. If we do that, we’ll be tough to beat.
“I never wanted it to end last week, so to finish at Old Trafford and hopefully as a winner, that’ll do for me.”