Wigan have confirmed the appointment of their coaching partnership, Mike Gregory and Denis Betts, on two-year contracts. The club is unbeaten in 11 games since the pair took over from the sacked Stuart Raper and has its biggest game of the season against Bradford in the Super League Grand Final on Saturday.
After what was beginning to look like an unreasonable delay, the Wigan chairman, Maurice Lindsay, has announced that the arrangement is being made permanent. "Mike had never been head coach at a big club before and he has had to react to pressure," he said. "But it has worked very well and Denis has been a marvellous part of it.
"I would have taken a coach from anywhere if he had been successful, but I wanted a British coach to succeed. Saturday's result will be immaterial as far as our judgement is concerned. We want Mike to continue with the good work taking place at the club." Gregory, a former Great Britain captain, said that he was "proud and honoured" to be taking charge of his home-town club.
The Grand Final will be refereed by Karl Kirkpatrick, a 38-year-old Warrington bank officer who will take charge of the biggest game of his career.
The former Wigan assistant, Billy McGinty, has resigned as coach of Workington to join Huddersfield as number two to their new coach, Jon Sharp.
"Jon put across his thoughts on rugby and how he wants to go about things and I felt as thought I wanted to be part of that," said McGinty, who admitted to regrets at leaving Workington and added: "This was too big an opportunity to let my heart rule my head."