Wigan Warriors' new internal competition that has players hooked ahead of new season

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josie andrews
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Wigan Warriors' new internal competition that has players hooked ahead of new season

Post by josie andrews »

Abbas Miski has revealed that a new game has been introduced to the group, and they're all getting involved!

During an international training camp for Lebanon last season, Miski played the board game against Castleford’s Charbel Tasipale, who he will face in the opening round of this year’s Super League as the Wigan Warriors travel to the Jungle.

And the 28-year-old has since got some of his Warriors teammates, including Jai Field, Harry Smith and Ethan Havard, hooked on the chess competitions as they prepare to defend their title.

Miski said: “I got to know Charbel through the Lebanon camp. He’s another one of the Lebanese players who’s over here now, but we had a little chess competition in camp. It actually goes pretty big here in Wigan as well. There’s a pretty big chess competition going on with the likes of Jai, Harry and Ethan. On away trips as well, on the bus rides and plane rides we have little magnetic boards and start playing.”

But when questioned on who the best is, the Australian-born back quipped: “I’d like to think I am, that’s the guy I am, but I’d hope the other boys say themselves as well.”

Miski – who has just signed a four-year contract extension with Wigan – scored 28 tries in Super League last year. But his competitiveness with the rest of the Cherry and Whites’ squad does not stop at just rugby league and chess.

The 28-year-old said: “There is myself, Jai, Bevan French and Kaide Ellis, for the Australian boys living in Manchester. We hang out on most days off so we play a lot of ping pong, a lot of snooker and pool, a lot of cards while we’re sitting in cafes. We sort of funnily make everything a competition. We have even got into wordle recently and so it’s all about who can figure out wordle the quickest now. Everything’s made better with a bit of competition.”

The contests between the Wigan Warriors players are just another example of their ferocious will to win, key to their Grand Final victory last year. And the powerful winger thinks this type of motivation will be crucial if they are to win back-to-back titles for the first time ever in the Super League era.

Miski – who was the Super League’s top try scorer last season – said: “I think winning and playing well as a team and individually is the motivation. Once you win something you want more of it. It’s like a drug really. It’s very addictive so yeah being on the big stage at Old Trafford with the atmosphere and the celebrations afterwards was really good and I just want to experience it again.”

Yet, the season did not start quite as it ended for Miski. He was initially signed by Championship side London Broncos on a dual registration but made just one appearance for the club, before returning to Wigan to make the right wing spot his own after French switched positions to stand-off. And this change in form allowed him to become the first Lebanese player to win Super League, inspiring the next generation rugby league players.

Miski said: “I didn’t know until before the final but apparently I was the first Lebanese player in a Super League final. It was very special for me because I know that there is a lot of potential for a lot of young Lebanese kids to come into the game. Especially in Sydney there’s a very large Lebanese population and there are a lot of young kids coming through, including some playing in the NRL right now. But hopefully a lot start playing here and come over from Australia and so to be the first player to do that and win the Grand Final is pretty special.”

After the Wigan Warriors embark on their defence of the Super League title this year in their opener against Castleford Tigers, they play the World Club Challenge match against the Penrith Panthers at the DW Stadium. The Super League champions are looking to win their fifth title in the competition since its inception. But for Miski himself – who was born in Penrith – the tie is of particular note.

He said: “I was thinking about it not long ago, I was born in Penrith and then moved to the St George area, but Penrith holds a pretty strong place in my heart as well as the Canterbury Bulldogs, I was a massive Bulldogs supporter when I was growing up. But to be coming up against Penrith is great, not only because they’re a really good team, but I’ve played against a lot of those guys growing up and I’m from there, and so it is extra-special for me.”

The World Club Challenge will also represent an opportunity for the prolific winger to prove himself against the best of the NRL. Miski initially struggled to gain a contract at an NRL side in his early playing days. And when he did manage to sign for a top side, the Sydney-based Manly Sea Eagles, he played just six times before moving to London Broncos.

To fill this gap before the late start to his professional career, he worked as a personal trainer and labourer as he tried to pursue rugby league.

Miski said: “I left school and I didn’t start training full time until I was at Manly, so I got my personal training certificate I worked in a gym for a few years. I enjoyed the fitness and the sports side of the training and I worked in the gym for a little bit and then my brother had an air conditioning company as well so I did a bit of hard labouring and whatnot.

I think once I started doing a lot of air conditioning with him I realised how much I wanted to be a rugby league player because those guys have got it tough.”

https://www.examinerlive.co.uk/sport/ru ... n-28582179
Anyone can support a team when it is winning, that takes no courage.
But to stand behind a team, to defend a team when it is down and really needs you,
that takes a lot of courage. #18thMan
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