Mathers prepares to punish old club Wigan

Click to follow

The first inkling Richie Mathers had that he was heading out of Wigan was when he read it in the papers.

It was an unsatisfactory end to an unhappy stay for the full-back, who aims to punish his former side tomorrow when he plays for Warrington in their Challenge Cup semi-final.

Becoming the makeweight in the Martin Gleeson deal has worked out well for Mathers, but what still rankles is the way it happened.

"I would just like to have been told," he said. "Ian Lenagan [the Wigan chairman] was honest enough to apologise to me personally. He said it should never have come out that way."

It never panned out for Mathers at the JJB, so a fresh start at Warrington, under Tony Smith, who he had worked with at Leeds, naturally appealed.

"It was a chance to join a team that was going places, with a great coach who has a bit of confidence in me," said Mathers, who has made the full-back berth his own.

Apart from the odd glitch, his form has been impressively reminiscent of his early days at Headingley, and it is not just Smith who remembers him from there. The Warrington captain, Adrian Morley, was an established player at Leeds when Mathers was starting out.

"He was in the system, just about to burst on to the scene, but already a really good player," recalls Morley.

Mathers remembers going as a schoolboy to see Leeds and Morley win at Wembley in 1999 – the last final at the old stadium. "It would be good to help him win another one 10 years later," he said.

Mathers insists that is an even bigger incentive than getting his own back on Wigan, even though he knows that any blemish will be mocked mercilessly by their supporters.