Super League clubs may be allowed to sign seven overseas players this season, but one club that won’t be using its full capacity of overseas stars is Wigan Warriors.
Wigan’s throughput of young stars from the club’s own Academy means that it rarely has to splash out on NRL stars.
This season the club will have Bevan French, Tommy Leuluai and Willie Isa on its overseas register, while the only NRL newcomer to its squad will be Jai Field (pictured), the 23-year-old stand-off half who has joined the club from Parramatta, after having spent three seasons with St George Illawarra, where he played eleven games in that time after making his debut in 2017.
Field has signed a two-year contract with the Warriors, and he is hoping to substantially increase the number of games he plays, having made six appearances for the Eels in 2020.
Having arrived over a month ago, he admits that the current lockdown isn’t too much of a problem for him.
“I got over here on the 19th of January,” he told League Express.
“The Covid restrictions are not too bad over here.
“We had to stay in our own Rugby League Covid bubbles last year, and that was probably tougher, when you could see your mates doing things that you couldn’t, because the general public was not locked down. My partner is aiming to get over here in April when hopefully things will have lifted further.”
Last year Field was part of a strong Parramatta squad, but he found himself only being called up when other players were injured.
” I played three games in July along Dylan Brown when Mitchell Moses was injured, and then three games in September alongside Mitch when Dylan was injured. We won four out of the six, and it was unreal playing at Bankwest Stadium, which has very steep stands, putting the crowd almost on top of you.
“But now I’ve done four years as a fringie, and I’m coming over here to get some continuity. Hopefully the team will go well and I’ll eventually go back to Australia recognised as a first-team player. Blake Green came over here as a relative unknown, for example, and went back and was very successful.”
Field may also be unknown to most English fans, but he hopes it won’t be too long before he gets noticed as a potentially exciting addition to Wigan’s spine, perhaps helping Wigan go one step further than they did in 2020, when they lost that dramatic Grand Final in the last seconds of the game.
“My speed is one of my biggest strengths, and I’m able to create space for other players.
I think there are some similarities in my game to Bevan French.
“In terms of our goals, every team trains and plays to win a trophy at the end of the year, and obviously I would love to play at Old Trafford in October. The other Wigan players have told me some great stories about playing at that ground.
“But I don’t think we’ll see an ending again like the one last November. You probably wouldn’t see that ever again and you couldn’t script it, although I’m sure our spectators wouldn’t complain at seeing such a dramatic ending again, as long as we’re the ones clinching the result.”
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