Why Matt Peet has put Wigan Warriors culture above everything else since taking head coach role

The pre-season period gives coaches a chance to get to grips with their players and instil their beliefs within the group.

At Wigan Warriors, that is no different. But for Matt Peet, heading into the period as a new coach means there is even more to do.

Inevitably, attack has been an area of focus for the Warriors as they look to put last year’s problems behind them, with players making it clear that there has been a change in tact already.

But there is something more important for Peet – culture. Moulding that to look how he wants it is key. In Peet’s vision that means the players can expect a number of things – abiding by the values set, raising issues openly, challenging problems with honesty and added engagement with fans and the community.

“We’re concentrating on the culture of the whole group,” Peet said.

“It started by me telling the players and leadership group we’d be built on culture first. It won’t bend for anyone, so we’ll have weekly discussions about it.

“People ask what culture is, but it’s a live thing and that doesn’t mean it is always good, though that’s part of it. It’s acknowledging when things can be improved and having regular open dialogue.

“Ultimately we all want the same thing and with that we need the same values and responsibility.”

To date, Peet is happy with how that process has gone.

“They’ve been immaculate so far. It doesn’t mean everything has run like clockwork, but we’ve addressed things and scenarios that might happen in the season. They’ve been open and receptive which is all I can ask for. They seem to be having a good time together and that’s important.

“The challenge is to maintain it with consistency. That’s the challenge, that we’re consistent, address things when it’s difficult, not just when it’s easy.”

The other important part of the process is building relationships with supporters and the community, something Peet believes is more important now than ever.

“We’re pushing community engagement and we want to give more access to the press.

“I think there’s so much competition for people to invest their time in, I think for us to expect people to just turn up because it’s a good sport and because it’s always been there is a bit naive.

“It’s understanding that the press and supporters are just as important as us as coaches and players. The fans are the star of the show. If we don’t give them access then we’re doing them a disservice.

“So I just want the environment to be welcoming and a good place for the press to come and feel comfortable.

“Being at the heart of the community has got to be a positive for the club. I know there will be hard times during my tenure but there’s always a reason to have a smile on your face, we’re doing things we love doing with a great fanbase, how good is it that we can put smiles on people’s faces?

“I know that in the club there’s a good feeling, that’s not because everyone thinks we’re brilliant, it’s because we’re in it for the right reasons.”

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