Anthony Gelling returns to Super League on Thursday night. But ahead of his Warrington debut, he has revealed how he could have been playing for Wigan instead of the Wolves in the 2020 season opener.
Gelling, one of the most colourful characters in the sport, is set to make his Wire debut against former club Wigan on Thursday, having held brief discussions about a return to the Warriors before settling on the Wolves.
He said: “There was a discussion about going back to Wigan but nothing more than that. But it’s a different setup there now. Shaun Wane has gone, and it was a different vibe I got from them.”
Gelling insists he will never change his extravagant persona, but says he is back in the top-flight with a greater appreciation for the game after having seen Rugby League’s ‘dark side’ in 2019.
“It was very different at Widnes,” he said.
“The clubs I’ve been at, Wigan, New Zealand Warriors, they’re very well-funded, popular clubs. Going to Widnes, I saw the dark side of Rugby League.
“That’s what it was like, but I’ll benefit from that. My perspective on the game has flipped now, having seen what the game means to people who support a club in such trouble through thick and thin.”
Gelling also admitted that a difficult year in the Championship left him wondering whether he could perform at the highest level again.
He said: “It plays on your head a bit. Some games we played last year, we were playing awful rugby.
“Then you go home and watch St Helens do their thing and you think ‘have I still got it in me?’ You wonder if you have what it takes to mix it with the big guys, but you build confidence by finding evidence you can still deliver, and this pre-season has told me that.”
Gelling also admitted he isn’t sure what reception he’ll receive at the DW Stadium on Thursday.
“I’ve got no idea what it’ll be like, I can’t picture it. Every time I close my eyes and try to imagine it, I just can’t imagine running against the Wigan guys.
“Hopefully I don’t go in the wrong dressing room. I left on good terms and I’ve got a lot of good friends there. I don’t know if I’ll get booed though.
“I didn’t want to leave; my hand was forced and I left before I wanted to unfortunately. I don’t know what reaction I’ll get so it’s going to be a surprise.”