Heroic, committed, passionate, brutal – are words that describe the whole team in the win on Sunday but for me, they also describe a player who made his 100th appearance for Wigan against Cronulla – Sam Powell.
A year ago McIlorum got injured in the World Club Series game against Brisbane and for many fans (me included), I thought we needed to sign a hooker straight away, there was no way we could cope with his absence by promoting from within. How wrong we have been. Powell has been magnificent and was my man of the match on Sunday, for a converted half back, his aggression in defence is only to be matched by McIlorum and Leuluai. His reading of the game from dummy half has also improved massively over the past year. If England weren’t so blessed in the number 9 role, he would surely be a candidate for international honours. If there was ever a player that deserves a rewarding, long contract it’s Sam Powell – get him signed up! What a selection headache Shaun Wane will have trying to get McIlorum, Powell, Leuluai, Williams, Tomkins and Escaré into his team – what a great position to be (if everyone gets fit!).
Speaking of Escaré, on Saturday, we were sat in front of Morgan Escaré’s family and Éloi Pélissier who was at the match to cheer on his ex-Catalan team-mate. If you thought the Wigan fans were passionate, French Wiganers are equally so! There was a great moment at the end of Wigan are World Club champions! the game when Escaré’s father was so overcome with pride, he started crying and banging his Wigan crest on his coat with great passion; a Wigan fan handed him his handkerchief to dry his tears, a wonderful moment to witness. What a journey for Escaré, dropped from the Catalans team last year, making just 10 appearances for the Dragons to becoming a World Champion with a very solid performance for the Warriors.
Welcome to Wigan, Morgan and family – allez les cerises et blancs!