Brown: Isa is the real deal

Willie Isa
Willie Isa
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WIGAN fans will “absolutely love” new-boy Willie Isa, according to Kevin Brown.

The ex-Warriors ace played alongside Isa for three years at Widnes Vikings.

He takes every one-on-one contest as a challenge, he’s just a physical, intense player who can do it for long periods because he’s so fit

Kevin Brown

He reckons the 26-year-old will be the fittest player in Shaun Wane’s 2016 squad - and is confidently predicting fans will take to him.

“They’ll absolutely love him,” enthused Brown.

“He lives his life as honest as the day is long, and physically he’s on another level.

“He’s got great foot speed, he’ll be the fittest player in the team - there’s zero body fat on him - and he’s a true pro’, he’ll be in stretching every day before training and things like that.

“He takes every one-on-one contest as a challenge, he’s just a physical, intense player who can do it for long periods because he’s so fit.

“Usually, you get one or the other – someone who is intense but only for spells, or they play long minutes but they’re not as physical – but he has both.”

Australia-raised Isa played in the NRL with Penrith and Melbourne before moving to England with Castleford.

He started his career in the three-quarters before moving to the forwards, and came to Wane’s attention.

“When I first went to Widnes, he was a winger,” said Brown.

“He never lacked in heart, his dummy-half carries were great, but his reading on the edge... if it was better he’d have been a superstar. So Denis (Betts, coach) tried him in the middle and literally we all went, ‘Wow’.

“In that sense, he’s like a junior because he’s only been in the middle for a couple of years, and he’s still progressing.

“He’s fantastic, a great player. It’s a shame we had to let him go, with the salary cap the way it is, but of all the players I’ve played with not many are as highly-rated by his team-mates.”

Isa has replaced Larne Patrick in the squad and, with Greg Burke returning from a loan spell at Hull KR, Shaun Wane will have greater depth in his pack.

Isa is the only player in the senior squad who has not played for Wigan – fellow recruit Sam Tomkins has returned after two years away.

Brown, who spent four years at Wigan to 2006, believes the Samoan international will soon endear himself to the Warriors faithful.

He added: “He’ll do hours in the community, working with the kids – he’s the perfect mould rugby player who you’d want as part of your club.”