Back row Liam Farrell has been appointed Wigan captain for the 2023 Betfred Super League season; the Warriors kick off the season away to Hull Kingston Rovers on Saturday (1pm); Sky Sports is the home of the men’s, women’s and wheelchair Super League Grand Finals in 2023
Last Updated: 17/02/23 10:54am
Liam Farrell may have been appointed Wigan Warriors captain for the 2023 Betfred Super League season, but the back row is happy to leave the motivational talks to team-mate Brad O’Neill.
What began as a joke from O’Neill during a gym session, after a particular arduous couple of days in pre-season training, has quickly developed into him delivering a quote of the day to the squad at the insistence of head coach Matt Peet.
As far as the 20-year-old hooker is concerned, the more cliched or cheesy the quote, the better. For Farrell though, the humour comes not so much from what O’Neill says but why he has chosen to say it.
“I wouldn’t say I’ve got any favourites, but the best part of the quote is probably the explanation,” Farrell told Sky Sports.
“When he finishes his quote, sometimes the lads ask him to explain it – and let’s say it can be very difficult sometimes!
“Matty has spoken about the culture a lot, but the way he’s brought in is train hard when you need to and enjoy yourselves when you can. And enjoy each other’s company.
“A little part of what Brad is doing is that, having a laugh and a joke, but also making sure we get around each other and enjoy each other’s company, and we’re doing that really well.”
Farrell’s approach to captaincy is more about being heard only when he needs to be, an attitude shaped by his predecessor as skipper, Tommy Leuluai, and others who have gone before.
As a youngster, the Wigan St Patricks product would watch his distant cousin Andy Farrell leading hometown club Wigan to Super League and Challenge Cup triumphs, while as a player the 32-year-old had Sean O’Loughlin – now a coach on the Warriors’ staff – as his skipper.
Those traits he saw in others have all fed into how Farrell behaves, along with his own ideas of what makes a good leader.
“Be vocal when you need to be vocal, but the most important thing for me is being humble, setting standards high and making sure with your own individual performances you play well,” Farrell said. “It’s making sure you’re the best you can be all of the time.
Be vocal when you need to be vocal, but the most important thing for me is being humble, setting standards high and making sure with your own individual performances you play well. It’s making sure you’re the best you can be all of the time.
Wigan’s Liam Farrell on his approach to captaincy
“I’m very lucky to be involved around Sean O’Loughlin and Tommy Leuluai for a long time and pick up some traits from them.
“Obviously watching previous captains before them like Andy Farrell, who was a great leader for the club – if I can pick up any of those traits then I’d be very proud.
“I feel very grateful the club picked me to be captain and hopefully I can lead the team well this year.”
Wigan head into the 2023 season as the Betfred Challenge Cup holders, lifting the trophy at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium last May for the first time in nine years after a close-fought 16-14 win over Huddersfield Giants.
Their Super League hopes ended with a 20-8 defeat against Leeds Rhinos in the play-off semi-finals, but although there was disappointment at not going to Old Trafford for the Grand Final, Farrell still reflects on Peet’s first year in charge as a successful one.
The Warriors kick off their 2023 campaign with a repeat of last year’s opening fixture when they travel to Hull Kingston Rovers for an early afternoon encounter on Saturday (kick-off 1pm), with a 24-10 win last year laying the foundations for the season.
Farrell is naturally eager for Wigan to lay down a marker when he leads the team out at Sewell Group Craven Park, in a year when the team have their sights on ending the dominance of fierce rivals St Helens and lifting the Super League title for the first time since 2018.
“Our gameplan will be very simple,” Farrell said. “It’s early in the year, so we just want to make sure we get our simple stuff right and the basics.
“Hull KR is not an easy place to go, and I’ve been there many times. It’s a hostile place, but also one where the fans get on top of you.
“Hopefully it will be a good game and we want to set our standards high there.”
Watch 66 live Betfred Super League matches, including Magic Weekend, the play-offs and the Grand Final, on Sky Sports in 2023 and stream on NOW TV. Sky Sports is home to the Betfred Women’s Super League and Betfred Wheelchair Super League Grand Finals this year as well.
This post is originally appeared on Sky News