Features / Rugby League

Steve McCormack loving Player Welfare Officer role at Wigan Warriors

McCormack’s Scotland are fourth in the world rankings. Photo credit: wiganwarriors.com

Steve McCormack has insisted he ‘loves’ his new role as Player Welfare Officer at Wigan Warriors and is glad to remain Scholarship coach.

The 43-year-old was appointed early in December and has had a few months to settle into his new job.

McCormack has been at the Wigan club since 2014 in the position of Youth Performance Coach, leading the Club’s Scholarship system as well as being Coach Education and Development manager with the Wigan Warriors Community Foundation.

He has left the Community Foundation and is now looking after the players’ welfare as well as continuing to coach Wigan’s Under 16s side.

The Scotland boss insisted he is enjoying his new role with the first-team.

“Player welfare has always been something that I am passionate about,” said McCormack.

“It is a fantastic role and I am really pleased to be given the position. It is an important job in any club so it is great to do it at a club as good as Wigan.

“I’ve got the best of both worlds because I am still overseeing the Scholarship system but the Player Welfare Officer role involves looking after matters off-the-field.”

McCormack has plenty of coaching experience in his locker, including spells with Salford Red Devils, Whitehaven, Widnes Vikings, Newcastle Thunder, Barrow Raiders, Swinton Lions and Gloucestershire All Golds respectively since 2001.

He is now entering his 13th as coach of the Bravehearts following an outstanding Four Nations campaign which saw them draw 18-18 with then world ranked number one side, New Zealand.

The Wigan-born coach has admitted he has not assisted Warriors head coach Shaun Wane in coaching the first-team in training yet but it could happen in the future.

McCormack added: “There has not been much of me coaching with the first-team as of yet.

“There are a lot of young players in Waney’s squad as well so I am fortunate to see what he and John Winder are doing with those players.

“I’m lucky because it is a fantastic and hard-working environment. It is great to see some of the younger players promoted to the first-team from the Under 19s and it is also good for them because I am a familiar face to them.

“My role may grow as time goes on but for now it is just about me being in and around the Orrell training centre and watching what goes on.”

The Lancastrian has moved workplaces from Central Park to the Fairhurst Accountants Community Stadium in Orrell to work closely alongside the first-team.

Since being in the role McCormack has been implementing his own ideas and changes to player welfare as well as holding talks with the Rugby Football League about how they can be grow stronger.

“My job would entail looking at any problems they are having and any support we can give them,” McCormack continued.

“I would also be looking for what the players could do when they have finished playing like educational options for players.

“The RFL offer a lot of options as well like Sporting Chance and looking after the anti-doping seminars and the educational side of the club is something I take care of as well.

“The role of Player Welfare Officer is a position of immense trust and from what I have seen and learned so far it is a job I am going to enjoy.”

After his move to the high performance training centre, McCormack has built a strong bond with Wane and has noticed how much preparation and work the backroom staff put in.

He revealed he can see why the Cherry and Whites triumphed in the 2016 Super League Grand Final, despite being underdogs.

McCormack said: “Waney [Shaun Wane] is the best there is – without a doubt.

“That is not me being biased but to achieve what Waney has done with his squad is top class.

“The attention to detail worked on by his backroom staff is brilliant as well. They work on how to treat the lads and keep an eye on how hard they work which feeds down to the players as well.

“They are very humble and that makes the job a lot easier for someone like me coming in.”

One of McCormack’s first jobs as Player Welfare Officer was to help French duo Romain Navarrete and Morgan Escare settle into the club and the town.

The pair, both France internationals, joined the Warriors in the off-season from Catalans Dragons.

“I have been really impressed with both of them to be honest,” McCormack said.

“I have spent a lot of time with them over the last couple of weeks and both Romain and Morgan are starting English lessons.

“Both of them have bought into the Wigan culture really quickly. They were in the Catalans system for a long time and then moved over here where there is a totally different culture and language.

“On the field they have been training great but they have taken a lot on board. They have driven a lot of stuff themselves as well and have been asking to get lessons and start improving so I have enjoyed working with them over the last couple of weeks.”

Next up for McCormack’s Scholarship side is trip to Victoria Park as they face local rivals Warrington Wolves on Wednesday 22 March.

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