Wigan stand-off George Williams is keen to live up to the burden of wearing the number 6 jersey this season for the Warriors.
His club coach Shaun Wane has handed Williams the coveted stand-off’s shirt after a 2014 season in which he made 23 appearances.
He was also rewarded with a four-and-a-half year contract last May, a sign of the faith that the club hierarchy has in his talents.
“Last year I was looking for around 10 games, and I got double that, plus a couple more,” he said.
“Plus a Grand Final – it was a massive year for me.
“But this year I’ve got to push on and make the number 6 jersey my own, and be a real leader in the team.
“Despite being a young member of the team, I’ve got to be a leader.”
Williams got his chance in the first team thanks to injury to Blake Green. The Australian has now departed, however, and Williams wants to repay the faith shown in him by Wane.
“I got quite a few games at stand-off last year with Greeny being injured,” he added.
“So I thought that I had a point to prove. There was rumours about signings, but I wanted to prove to Shaun Wane that I was good enough to be a number 6.
“He believed in me, and he’s given me the chance.
“I only found out this preseason. He had a word with me before the numbers were released and said, ‘You’ve got it, well done.’
“But I didn’t really think about it too much, I just wanted to prove him right, whatever number I got, and make the position mine.
“That number doesn’t mean anything if I don’t play well.”
The 20-year-old is well aware of the history that comes with wearing the number 6, with many great players having graced the shirt before him.
He is keen to make his own mark, on Super League, though, and has high aims.
“I am really pleased with it, there’s a lot of names worn it before and I want to make it my own.
“I want to become a Wigan legend.
“It is a big confidence boost, and hopefully I can start the season well, and we can get a few trophies under our belt.”
Williams is looking forward to being able to play behind a big Wigan pack in 2015, with new signings having bolstered the forward ranks.
“We have signed some big blokes, Taulima Tauta’s a massive bloke, as well as Lee Mossop – he’s got plenty of experience and he’s a really good player,” he said.
“I’m happy with our pack, and I think we can play off the back of them.”
Wigan lost last season’s Grand Final to local rivals St Helens. Williams is desperate to make up for that failure this time around, and in the future too.
“I had a bad first experience, and that’s made me hungry,” he said.
“I want to go back there plenty of times and Wigan to win it.”