Wigan Warriors’ Zach Eckersley Shines in Challenge Cup Final Debut

Wigan Warriors’ Zach Eckersley Shines in Challenge Cup Final Debut

Zach Eckersley, a 20-year-old academy product of the Wigan Warriors, made a remarkable debut in the Challenge Cup final, scoring a try in his team’s 18-8 victory over Warrington Wolves at Wembley Stadium.

Just a fortnight ago, it would have been hard to imagine Eckersley being part of Matt Peet’s starting lineup for the final, with regular centre pairing Jake Wardle and Adam Keighran firmly established in the team. However, Keighran’s three-match ban following a red card against Warrington last week opened the door for Eckersley, and he seized the opportunity with both hands.

Eckersley, who had only made five previous appearances for the Warriors, produced a standout performance at the national stadium, contributing to Wigan’s triumph under the famous Wembley arch. The young centre expressed his excitement at being trusted by the coaching staff and his determination to make the most of the experience.

“Since that call, I was just buzzing to play,” Eckersley said. “You don’t want to get too ahead of yourself. You take the week as it comes, and try to be relaxed. It’s a massive occasion, but it’s a game of rugby. I knew when the whistle came that I’d relax.”

Eckersley was quick to acknowledge the support he received from his experienced teammate, Adam Keighran, who had played in every game leading up to the final and helped him prepare throughout the week.

“Adam missed out, but he’s helped me all week and supported me through everything. I feel bad for him, but I’m glad I managed to get the win for the boys and for him as well because he had played every game,” Eckersley said.

The young centre’s performance was further enhanced by the solid combination he formed on the right edge with the likes of Lance Todd Trophy winner Bevan French, Junior Nsemba, and Abbas Miski, all of whom provided invaluable guidance and support throughout the game.

This surreal experience for the Oldham native, who has progressed through the Wigan academy and enjoyed loan spells in the Championship, is a memory that he and his family will cherish forever.

“You dream of things like that as a kid, scoring tries at Wembley,” Eckersley said. “It’s definitely something for the memory bank.”

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