After the news of both Michael McIlorum and Anthony Gelling departing Wigan Warriors this week, the club now has to adapt their game without them and a replacement for the latter has already been brought in in the shape of former Warrior Dan Sarginson from Gold Coast Titans.
With Gelling returning to his native New Zealand to be nearer to his family following his girlfriend’s car crash this winter, many may assume that he will continue his rugby league career Down Under having secured his release from the 2016 Super League champions. However, Chairman Ian Lenagan outlined earlier in the week that he didn’t have a club lined up for his return and head coach Shaun Wane has corroborated that statement, saying that “Gells will do whatever suits him.” Speaking of his interests outside of the sport, Wane added “He’s into his arts and film-making, he’ll be a success whatever he does. Whether he does it in sport, I’m not too sure.” It’s certainly a great shame for Wigan fans as the fan favourite was one of their top players last season but, if he does decide at any point to return to the UK to play rugby league, the Cherry and Whites have first refusal.
It’s certainly likely to be emotional for Wane to see Gelling leave as the 27 year old was his first signing as head coach. While working in construction, he saw a video of the Cook Island international playing lower league rugby and, coupled with a good word from former teammate Kevin Iro, offered the centre a deal. The difficulty of allowing his release would have been difficult for Wane who said that “I class him as a close friend, and it’ll be great to see him again.” However, the family reasons outlined for his release are totally understandable with the same man adding that ““He’s been away from his family for a long time, and he wants to be closer to them. I get that.”
Warriors’ fans will be hoping that returning centre Dan Sarginson can step into the void left by Anthony Gelling – he is certainly a man who won’t need much of a bedding in period as he takes to the pitch with his former teammates and should be able to ensure the loss of Gelling, in rugby terms at least, isn’t felt as hardly as it otherwise could have been.