18 July 2023

Matt Peet wants Wigan to win Challenge Cup for outgoing chairman Ian Lenagan

18 July 2023

Wigan head coach Matt Peet hopes to give out-going joint-owner and chairman Ian Lenagan a fitting send-off with more Challenge Cup glory at Wembley.

Lenagan, 77, announced last Saturday that he will stand down at the end of the season in November, ending his 16-year association with the club.

Wigan, who lifted the Cup at Wembley last season for a record-extending 20th time after victory over Huddersfield, take on Hull KR at Headingley on Sunday for a place in this year’s final.

Peet said: “I think everyone understands how much he has committed to the club, financially obviously, but in terms of emotion and dedication of his life and his family’s life.

“It would be fitting if we could get him to at least one more final. We’ll take this opportunity this week to try and do it, but we’re up against another proud club with plenty of motivation of their own.”

Since Lenagan bought the Warriors from Dave Whelan in 2007, they have been Grand Final winners four times and have won three League Leaders’ Shields, three Challenge Cups and a World Club Challenge.

Peet, promoted from assistant to head coach after Adrian Lam’s departure in October 2021, said: “I think it’s where (Lenagan) picked the club up and on and off the field, where the club was at and where he’ll leave them.

“Everything that’s gone on between will be the biggest indication and history will remember Ian Lenagan as one of the greatest leaders in the history of the club, and rightly so.

“The influence he’s had on the education in the town, community, the engagement and obviously on the field.

“He’s also made his mark on the game as a whole. Internally, we always make decisions which are best for Wigan, but he always has the bigger picture in mind of what’s best for the game.”

Peet has warned his side must produce top form if they are to beat Hull KR on Sunday to set up a Wembley showdown against either St Helens or Leigh on August 12.

Wigan lost 27-18 to Hull KR at Craven Park on the opening day of the Super League season in February and edged a 26-22 golden-point win in the return in May.

“They’ve outplayed us twice so it’s obvious anything less than our best performance of the season and we’ll not be in the final,” added Peet, who has no new injuries following Friday’s 26-12 win against Warrington.

Hull KR head coach Willie Peters, appointed as Tony Smith’s successor for the start of the season, is waiting for fitness reports on doubtful trio Ryan Hall, Jimmy Keinhorst and Elliot Minchella.

Rovers, who lost in the semi-finals to Huddersfield last season, have seen a strong Super League challenge hit by a string of injuries.

Australian Peters, 44, who played on the losing side for Wigan in the  2000 Super League Grand Final defeat to St Helens, said: “If we can beat a club like Wigan to go and play at Wembley, it would be huge.

“Everything we’ve been through, the adversity in terms of injuries, it would be massive.

“We need to enjoy ourselves, celebrate the little wins along the way, like getting to the semis, but every team wants to get to Wembley.

“If we were to do the job, it would give the club huge belief, that’s for sure.”

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