Gary Wheeler admits he felt like his career had stalled during the latter part of his time at St Helens, and he hopes that his move to Warrington will help his career kick on once again.
The 25-year-old, who has penned a one-year deal with the Wolves for 2015, admitted it was a tough call to leave his boyhood club. But he says the lure of a fresh challenge was too much to turn down, adding that he rejected offers from a number of clubs to commit to Warrington.
“Obviously it was a tough decision to leave; I’ve been at St Helens since I was a kid. I was 12 years of age when I first signed so it’s been a long affiliation with the club,” Wheeler told League Express.
“I think my career has stalled a little, and injuries haven’t helped. There have been times where it’s felt like I’ve not progressed. I’ve had a decent run free from injury this year, but I’ve just not been selected as much as I’d have liked.
This article originally appeared in this week’s edition of League Express newspaper. Click here to download the digital version to your computer, smartphone or tablet
“I just want my game to kick on and that’s what I think will happen with this move. I had offers from a few clubs, but Warrington stood out as a brilliant club.
“Their ambition is to win silverware, and they’re a great team. I share that ambition, and I want to get my hands on some trophies in the future, so that was the biggest part of the move.”
Wheeler initially broke into the Saints’ first-team setup as a stand-off as a youngster. But has played in the centres more often than not in recent years. He still feels that halfback is his best position, and he hopes he will get a fair chance to show Tony Smith what he can do in that role.
“I see myself as a stand-off, and I’d have liked to train there a little more and been given more chances there and had a shot at it. It just felt like I was filling in on occasions at stand-off. Tony says he sees me as a utility back, and I’ve just got to earn my place.
“It’s the position where I feel I can offer the most to a team, without a doubt. Stand-off is my best position because I like to get my hands on the ball. I’ve a creative side to my game, and I’m hoping to get a real good crack at it.”
Click here to download the latest issue of Rugby League World magazine to your computer, smartphone or tablet
Wheeler also believes the stiff competition for places in the Wolves squad, particularly at halfback, will also help him to kick on in 2015.
“They’ve got a really strong squad with good competition for places. It’ll be a tough task to get into the team, because there are top international players you have to get past.
“But I think the change will help and I’m looking forward to the challenge. Going to Warrington will help break me out of a familiar routine. Working with Tony Smith will bring the best out of me.”