ANTHONY Gelling’s form is fast cementing him a future at the club – just weeks after his Wigan career appeared uncertain.
The 23-year-old figured just once in the opening two-and-a-half months of the campaign
– a cameo in a weakened side that beat Wakefield a week after the World Club Challenge.
For the other 10 games, he watched from the sidelines in frustration –and even played one game dual-registration for Championship outfit Workington, as speculation simmered that Salford and Wakefield were interested in recruiting him.
But a season-ending injury to Iain Thornley on Good Friday created an opening in Shaun Wane’s team – and Gelling has not looked back.
He has played in the last six matches, scoring five tries in the process and been one of the Warriors’ most consistent performers.
Out of contract at the end of the season, it’s understood both parties are keen to extend his stay.
Wane sees Gelling’s future at Wigan and has praised the way he has grabbed his chance during their recent injury crisis.
He said: “I’m very pleased with Gells, I hope his future’s here.
“He had to wait for his chance, but he worked hard and when it came, he took it.
“Gells is really happy here and we’re happy with him.
“He’s bought into our system and he’s well liked in the group.”
Able to play wing, centre or second-row, Gelling is expected to hold down a position in the team as injured players filter back in the next two weeks.
His career-best form has been particularly pleasing for Wane, who took a chance on him by signing him from part-time outfit Auckland Vulcans ahead of the 2012 campaign.
Gelling, a former Sydney Roosters junior, was working as a labourer at the time.
“If you look back to when he signed, we said at the time, ‘It doesn’t matter if it takes a year or two years, he’s a long-term prospect’,” said Wane.
“He was very young when he came to us, but we saw something in him. It’s satisfying for me because we’ve seen him grow and develop, and that’s why I love coaching.”
Gelling was Wigan’s only overseas player in their most recent win, a gutsy 25-4 victory at Salford last Thursday.
The defending champions remain fourth in the ladder, level with Castleford and two points clear of Huddersfield.
But they can wedge open a four-point gap between themselves and the Giants if they beat them on Thursday night.
Wigan’s Under-19s host Bradford tonight, kick-off at Orrell is 6.30pm.