Wigan Warriors coach Matt Peet was full of praise for Kai Pearce-Paul after the England international made a strong return from the treatment room.
Pearce-Paul made his 50th appearance for the Warriors following a two-month injury lay-off in their 26-12 victory over Warrington on Friday night.
The England international, who played in last year’s World Cup, made a huge impact when he came off the bench to help the Warriors return to winning ways.
Peet praised the return of Pearce-Paul in his post-match press conference, and wants to see more of it as we enter the business end of the Super League season.
“All the credit goes to Kai really,” Peet said after the game.
“It is a big thing when a young player gets picked for a World Cup and doesn’t get the pre-season they probably need at that age.
“He was probably a victim of his own success last year, and I think this injury, although unfortunate as it was, has given him the chance to concentrate on his physical development.
“It reignites his hunger to be out there and it showed.
“There are times I wish I had him in the past two months, don’t get me wrong, he did exactly, and more, of what we were hoping for.”
Kai Pearce-Paul makes huge impact for Wigan Warriors
Catalans Dragons full-back Sam Tomkins, appearing as a guest pundit for Sky Sports, praised the impact that Pearce-Paul made when coming off the bench.
“He changed the momentum of the game,” Tomkins said of Pearce-Paul in his post-match analysis on Sky Sports.
“We saw a couple of his carries when he had three or four defenders trying to get him down and they just couldn’t do it.
“He is a massive, big, strong bloke but he’s athletic with the way he carries the ball in one hand.
“Even in the first half, some of the defence he was putting in – he was rattling people.
“I was he was on the field a little bit longer, had he been, I think he’d have got the man of the match.
“The little bit of what we saw today, he was really impressive and I’m excited to see what he can go on to do.”
Wigan Warriors boss pleased with ‘important’ win in big night for the club
The Warriors first team capped off a big night for the club, who hosted a heritage evening by inviting past players to the match as well as having their academy side play as a curtain-raiser at the DW Stadium.
Peet added: “It was important that we got the win tonight.
“It was a big night for the club in terms of the heritage evening and hosting the academy game as well, so the result was the most important thing.
“There were elements of the performance that were pleasing and some that we need to improve but the win was an important one.
“I thought we started slow. It took a few lads to come off the interchange and spark us through the middle, which they did.
“We have to be better at the start of games. I thought the two tries we conceded were quite poor ones but in the second half we seemed a little stiffer defensively.”
Next up for the Warriors is a Challenge Cup semi-final against Hull KR at Headingley next Sunday, 5pm kick-off.