Wigan expect Andy Powell’s best in 2014

Wigan Warriors prop Andy Powell will be a much better player when the 2014 season begins, according to club coach Shaun Wane.

The former Wales and British Lions star signed for the Warriors earlier this year from rugby union, and has spent much of the season away from the first team, honing his game. He has also played for South Wales Scorpions in a bid to bring him up to speed in the 13-man code. 

Wigan coach Shaun Wane is delighted with the progress Powell has made so far in his rugby league career, but expects the big Welshman to make a real impact on Super League in 2014.

“I’m more than pleased,” Wane told Love Rugby League.

“He’s a big body, and we need big bodies. I’m excited about him. I think we’ll see the best of him next year, but I think he’s doing a great job.

“I didn’t think I would be considering him this soon. He’s played more games than I thought he would.

“I thought he’d be a project for next year, at least. But he’s grasped it, he works hard at his game.

“He’s always in my office looking at videos. He wants to improve.

“He loves rugby league. He’s really took to it. He gets it – the technical and defensive aspects of what we do.

“He’s been outstanding for us. I’m really pleased.”

Wigan skipper Sean O’Loughlin, currently sidelined with an ankle injury, insists that Powell’s hard work has been highly appreciated at the DW Stadium.

“He’s a great character, he’s good to have round the place,” said O’Loughlin.

“He’s done a lot of hard work with the lads, but also on his own, to try and get up to speed with everything.

“I think he’d be the first to say that he’s still got a lot to learn.

“But what he has been for us is a big, physical body who’s come in and done a good job for us.

“That was a real tough, physical game the other week against Leeds, and he still managed to get some good off-loads away.

“That’s something that the lads around him will have to get used to playing with, and to try and react to.”

Shaun Wane still believes that there is more hard work ahead of Powell, but that the player seems to thrive on learning, training and perfecting aspects of his game.

“It’s like going back to coaching a 10-year-old in some parts,” Wane added.

“But he runs the ball strongly. He’s brave and he’s tough. He’s athletic too, he’s a big guy but he’s quick. 

“He likes being around the players, he socialises with them. His family’s joined in with us at the club.

“I’m really pleased with him at the minute, but I firmly believe we’ll get the best out of him next year, when he’s had a preseason with us.”

“He’s been in my office three times today. Looking at things he’s done in training, what he does well and what he doesn’t do so well.

“He’s keen. He’s showed desire he wants to get better, and that’ll do for me. I’ll work with him.”

Powell has also made friends at the club quickly, according to Wane, with several Welsh players already at Wigan.

“He’s tied himself up with Sam Tomkins,” he explained.

“Obviously having Ben Flower, Gil Dudson and Rhodri Lloyd at the club has helped him.

“But he’s spending time with the local, Wigan lads, going for coffees after training and all that. He understands what our culture at Wigan, he’s going to be a great asset.”

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