Wigan Warriors: Lenagan thinks NRL players will return

Wigan Warriors chairman Ian Lenagan is confident those who leave for the NRL will eventually return to the club as better players.

It was announced on Tuesday that Lee Mossop and Gareth Hock will move to Australia to join Parramatta Eels at the end of the year.

"We are confident that if we allow our players to go to the NRL they will come back much stronger players," he said.

There are quite a few players who we believe could make it within rugby league and these days we can afford it as well

Ian Lenagan Wigan Warriors chairman

"And at least 50% of them will come back to Wigan."

The Warriors said they will receive "significant six-figure transfer fees"  for both England internationals after they agreed two-year deals with the Sydney side.

"It's something that we've planned for the past two or three years," Lenagan added.

"Lee Mossop said openly when he signed his last contract that one of things that we took into consideration was that he would quite like to play in the NRL for a year or two.

"There are more of our players that would want to do that, but with the production line that Wigan have got from the area, outside and Wales, we believe that we can generate the two players that can fill the gap."

The Warriors pulled off a major coup this week by persuading Sale Sharks forward Andy Powell to switch codes from rugby union.

England's Mossop set for NRL test

The 31-year-old follows former Wales international Gareth Thomas, who was the last high-profile name to switch to rugby league when he signed for Crusaders in 2010.

"We think the power that Andy's got will be very effective, probably as a prop forward, [head coach] Shaun Wane tells me," Lenagan told North West Tonight.

"We think his keenness to join the game is probably one of the best factors of all, because it's going to be difficult for the first few months, but we think he will make that a great success.

"We recognise there are a lot of players in rugby union who like the attractiveness of rugby league; it's fast, there are a lot of tries, you get lots of chances with your ball in your hand.

"There are quite a few players who we believe could make it within rugby league and these days, financially, we can afford it as well."