ANTHONY Gelling has been challenged to string some bright performances together to cement his place in the Wigan team.
The Kiwi was one of the Warriors’ shining lights in a disappointing 28-12 defeat at Leeds last Friday night.
Having featured just once in the team until Easter – raising questions about his future at the club – he has now figured in the last three consecutive matches.
Shaun Wane was delighted with his performance against Leeds’ star-studded backline, and now wants to see the 23-year-old earn a regular place by continuing to impress – starting with Friday’s trip to Hull FC.
Wane said: “Gells was one of our best players against Leeds.
“He’ll be in the team on Friday. And if I had a full strength squad to pick my team from he would still be in – because he’s earned it.
“It’s simple. If he keeps playing like that he will get picked. I said to Iain Thornley at the start of the year that he needed to string some games together – and he was doing that until he got injured.
“Now I’ve challenged Gells with the same thing. I don’t want him playing well one week, and then not the next.
“I want him to string a number of games together, put some consistency into his performances.”
Until Easter, Gelling’s only appearance had been against Wakefield, when some of the World Club Challenge players were rested.
His frustration was amplified by the fact he was prevented from playing on dual-registration or on loan – and Wakefield and Salford were both known to be monitoring his position.
But a softening of the rules governing overseas players meant he was allowed to play a game for Workington on dual-registration terms, before he stepped back into the Wigan team when Thornley suffered a season-ending pectoral tear.
Recruited from Auckland Vulcans ahead of the 2012 season, Gelling has shown a tendency to both thrill and frustrate.
And Wane added: “He’s got bad habits which we’re trying to get out of him. But Gells is an athlete, he’s perfect for me for a three-quarter - he’s big, fast, powerful, skillful.
“He is only young and when he came over here, he was coming from a part-time environment and it took him time to settle in. But he always realised he had skill and athleticism.”