Sam Powell says that Wigan Warriors signing Kruise Leeming gave him all the indication he needed that his time at the club may well be over, but he holds no grudges whatsoever and wants to end his career on a high at Warrington Wolves.
Warriors academy product Powell’s exit from the DW Stadium was confirmed at the beginning of last month, sealing a move across the North West to the Halliwell Jones Stadium on a two-year deal.
11 years on from his debut, the hooker’s last game in cherry and white – his 273rd appearance for his hometown club – saw him lift the Super League trophy courtesy of a 10-2 victory against Catalans Dragons in the Grand Final at Old Trafford.
That was his third triumph at the Theatre of Dreams, at the end of a season which brought about a challenging spell on the sidelines through injury.
Sam Powell opens up on Wigan Warriors exit: ‘I look back and there’s nothing but good memories’
The three-time England Knights international spoke to the media for the first time as a Warrington player at the Halliwell Jones Stadium earlier this week, and detailed his emotions surrounding his exit from the Warriors.
Powell said: “It’s a tough one. I’ve never been close-minded to thinking I was going to spend all my career at Wigan. The way it was going, it probably looked like that, but it’s professional sport at the end of the day and it comes down to a matter of opinions.
“I look back at my Wigan career now with my wife and my kids, and there’s nothing but good memories and great times. I got injured halfway through last year and I had a lay-off of around eight weeks overall.
“I said – at the time – to my wife that I wouldn’t be making any decision (about the future) until the season is done, even though I kind of knew I’d be leaving the club after Wigan had signed Kruise (Leeming).
“My mindset was, I wasn’t fit at the time, I wanted to get back fit, and I knew I could play a part in the team if I got back fit. I knew the team had a chance of winning a Grand Final, and I didn’t want to give that up. Luckily enough, that’s what I ended up doing.”
Three-time Super League Grand Final winner Powell looks ahead to 2024 with Warrington Wolves: ‘I just want to enjoy myself here’
The forward turned 31 in July, and Warrington are just the second club he’s ever made a permanent home. The only other two teams whose shirts he’s donned are Workington Town and the now-defunct South Wales Scorpions, both very briefly as a loanee.
Contracted until 2025 with the Wire as a player, Powell already has one eye on his future beyond that, but for the time being says he just wants to settle in under new boss Sam Burgess.
He continued: “As the season finished, there were a couple of clubs interested, and then Sam gave me a call on a Friday and as soon as I spoke to him, I wanted it to happen. A week later, it did happen, and here we are.
“I look at it as a massive positive, because I want to coach after I’ve finished playing. Coming here, getting the chance to work under Sam and seeing how he does things… I’ve had four quality coaches at Wigan, so the more, the merrier.
“I haven’t got long left in the game, I’m not stupid, so I just want to enjoy myself here and give my input where I can.”