Youth Development Structure Confirmed – Wigan Warriors


Wigan Warriors confirm new youth development structure for 2023 season and beyond.

Darrell Goulding leaves the club, Shane Eccles becomes the new youth manager and John Duffy joins Wigan as Academy head coach.

After two years in the role, former player Darrell Goulding is stepping down as youth manager.

As a player, Goulding progressed through the Wigan Academy system, going on to play 175 games and score 72 tries for the hometown club. He won the Challenge Cup once and the Super League twice after scoring in the 2010 and 2013 Grand Finals.

After retiring from playing, Goulding moved into coaching and learned his trade as an assistant coach for Wigan Academy, before becoming head coach for two years and winning the Under-19 Grand Finals in 2017 and 2018 Goulding was part of the first team. coaches in 2020, before overseeing youth development at the Club in 2021 and 2022.

Goulding’s replacement is Shane Eccles. His role as youth manager will see him manage player progression and the pathway system for young players entering the club at scholarship level, through to academy and reserve teams.

Eccles has worked within Wigan’s scholarship and academy system since 2015 in a number of roles. From head scholarship coach to director of academy development, he led the academy team to grand final glory in 2019.

He was also on the England Academy coaching staff, as well as being the head coach of the original Lancashire Academy team.

Becoming the Academy’s new head coach is former Leigh Centurions boss John Duffy. A former returning half in his 16 years playing, Duffy amassed over 350 appearances for Warrington Wolves, Salford Red Devils, Leigh Centurions, Chorley Lynx, Whitehaven and Widnes Vikings.

Since retiring from the game in 2003, Duffy has taken on the roles of head coach for the Swinton Lions and Featherstone Rovers before joining Leigh in 2018. He has also held various national team positions from Scotland.

Commenting on the new youth development structure, Head Coach Matt Peet said: “Darrell has done a great job leading the Academy and has had a positive impact on hundreds of young players during his time there. at the club. We wish him luck for the future and thank him for his hard work and dedication. He should be really proud.

“Shane is perfectly placed to take the department to another level after working so hard in a range of player development roles. He is an excellent communicator, coach and educator. He is already a highly valued member of our team. and his new role underscores it.

“John brings to Wigan a wealth of experience and a passion for helping players maximize their talents. Personally, I am very enthusiastic about sharing ideas with John, and I know his expertise and work ethic will benefit the club, the coaching staff and, ultimately, our players.

“I am delighted that the Club continues to invest in the Academy – underlining our philosophy of developing local talent as a priority.”

On leaving the Club, Goulding said: “It was a really difficult decision to leave the Club, especially when I love what I have. However, I recently had my first child and want to spend more time with him as he grows up.

“The club and youth department are in a great place and will only go from strength to strength with great people and players at the club.

“I wish everyone at the Club all the best and thank everyone for their support over the years, especially Ian [Lenagan]Chris [Radlinski] and Matt [Peet]. I can’t wait to watch the Club as a fan and see all the young players progress in their careers.

On joining Wigan, Duffy said: “I am absolutely delighted to join Wigan Warriors. I can’t wait to start my role and meet the players and the staff. I am delighted to work with the best young players in the country – to develop them into Wigan first-team players, while helping them fulfill their educational opportunities. I would like to thank Ian [Lenagan]Chris [Radlinski]Matty [Peet] and Shane [Eccles] for giving me this opportunity.


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