At the age of 24, Sam Powell is anything but a senior player in terms of how old he is. However, when he looks around the Wigan team that takes to the field against Salford on Friday, he may well realise how important he is.
Wigan, it has been well-documented, are struggling with injuries. But this week, they are down on pivots aplenty; George Williams, Morgan Escare and Thomas Leuluai is injured, Sean O’Loughlin is away with England and Michael McIlorum is suspended.
And what does all of that mean? For Powell, it means another run at half-back – but a senior role in the process: something he’s looking forward to.
He told TotalRL: “It feels like I am a bit of a senior player!
“But there’s still a couple of senior players out there, although I want to step up and become a leader this weekend. I’m looking forward to leading the team around at half-back and hopefully it can bring the best out of me.”
Powell has made his name perennially at hooker over the last year during McIlorum’s long-term absence from the team, but the halves are not an unfamiliar role.
“I think I’ll carry on at half-back this week,” he admitted.
“I want to improve there, get my timing better and hopefully we can create enough to score the points and get the win. I started my career as a half-back, I was brought up as one so it’s not unfamiliar for me. I quite like playing there.
“It’s going to be tough for us but we’re a professional rugby team, we’ll just deal with it and crack on. The players who will be out there will give it everything they’ve got.”
Sitting just outside the top four, Wigan are believed to be handily placed by many to launch a tilt at Old Trafford once their big guns return. For Wigan-born Powell though, that is not enough.
He said: “People will say for what we’ve been through we’re in a good position, but we’re Wigan: we’re striving to be top of the league and that’s not changed.
“Salford are playing some good stuff and we’ll have to train well and be ready for them.”