Hock set for switch to prop

Gareth Hock - prop idol
Gareth Hock - prop idol

GARETH Hock could be poised for a switch to prop when he returns to action in the summer, Michael Magure has revealed.

Wigan will this week bid to get him back into the camp for training earlier, to ease his return to Super League when his two-year doping ban expires in June.

And with the second-row already congested by internationals Ryan Hoffman, Joel Tomkins, Harrison Hansen and young-guns Liam Farrell and Chris Tuson, Hock may have to make his return in a new role.

Maguire said: “I’ve got some good competition (in the back row) at the moment, so there’ll be even more when Gaz comes back. There’s a chance he could move up to the front row.

“The way the front row is utilised in this day and age, you do change them around and having players like that, with the ability he’s got, you can move your players about a little bit.

“Once he gets in and starts training with us, we can start looking at what position he’s going to play.”

A specially-convened hearing in London tomorrow or Wednesday will decide whether Hock can join the Warriors for training.

Wigan are using the precedent set in football, which allows its stars to return to training before the end of their doping suspensions because athletes from team sports need longer to adjust back to their environment than those from individual sports such as athletics.

The Rugby Football League has arranged this week’s meeting, in conjunction with UK Anti-Doping and the World Anti-Doping Agency, who say they will raise no objection if Adam Lewis QC rules there is nothing to be gained from preventing the player making an early return to training. The RFL will announce the result of the hearing.

“Hopefully we should get a little bit of positive news out of that one (the hearing),” said Maguire.

“I know Gaz is really looking forward to getting back in.

“He talks to a lot of the players and he’s very excited about being part of what we’re doing here.

“It’s a major thing for us to get him back in training early if that’s possible and when the time is right he will get his opportunities.”

Until now, Hock has been keeping himself in shape with the help of a personal trainer.

“I’ve seen him out and about and he’s looking pretty good at the moment, so he’d be a very good player to have in our squad,” added Maguire.

“He’s a tough player, a quality player, and that’s why he played for the England team.

“He’s performed at the highest level for quite some time and I’m really looking forward to actually getting him back very soon.”