MATTY Bowen insists he is not taking his place in the Wigan team for granted.
The emergence of Ryan Hampshire has given Shaun Wane another strong option for the full-back role.
Bowen rates the 20-year-old highly and has tipped him as a Super League star of the future.
And with the new season looming, the former Australia international admits he can feel Hampshire snapping at his heels.
“He keeps me on my toes,” said Bowen, 32.
“We’ve got the competition there now and it’s good, it’s healthy competition and that’s a good thing for the club.”
Yorkshireman Hampshire started four games at full-back last season, figuring as many times from the bench.
“He’s already played well, when he got his chance last year,” said Bowen.
“He will be one of the kids who does well, not just at Wigan but in Super League in general.
“I love watching him play and I love training alongside him.”
Bowen arrived a year ago as Sam Tomkins’ replacement.
After a slow start, he showed fans just why he was a firm crowd-pleaser in the NRL. The jet-heeled Queenslander signed a one-year extension for 2015, with part of his role to help nurture Hampshire and fellow academy-graduate Lewis Tierney.
“It’s not just me teaching them, they teach me,” he smiled.
“I’m learning off them too. You can always learn and get better, you never stop.”
Hampshire started in the No.1 role against Leigh last Sunday, and moved to stand-off when Bowen was introduced in the second-half.
He scored a try, which he converted himself, in the 18-14 defeat.
Wane has another full-back option from within his senior squad – centre Dan Sarginson scored four tries in as many appearances in the No.1 role last season.
Meanwhile, the Warriors coach was today planning to run the rule over several injured players before deciding his squad for Sunday’s friendly at St Helens.
Recruit Taulima Tautai suffered a rib injury at Leigh.
Tickets for Wigan’s opening Super League game at Widnes, on February 5, went on sale yesterday priced £20 adults, £13 concessions and £10 for Under-17s – across the board, £3 cheaper than if bought on matchday.