New Williams deal just the start

Wigan's George Williams scores against Hunslet
Wigan's George Williams scores against Hunslet

GEORGE Williams has been rewarded for his sparkling form with a new four-year deal.

The 19-year-old has featured in Wigan’s last 10 matches at either halfback or hooker, helping them into the top-three of Super League and the Challenge Cup quarter-finals.

And the Warriors decided to act quickly to tie him down to a new deal which runs until the end of 2018 – a move described by rugby manager Kris Radlinski as “a massive coup.”

Coach Shaun Wane said: “Make no mistake, we are the envy of many Super League clubs in getting George’s signature.

“He is a very talented young player who shows great desire to be the best.

“He fits perfectly into the Wigan culture with his behaviour on and off the field and I look forward to in sharing much success with George over the years to come.”

The England academy international – poised to face Leeds on Saturday at Manchester’s Etihad – was already under contract until 2015.

But he has developed at a rapid rate, figuring in Wigan’s last 10 matches and edging ahead of Sam Powell and Logan Tomkins – now on loan at Salford – in the pecking order.

“I am delighted to commit my future to Wigan,” said Williams, who debuted in a Cup game against Leigh last year.

“I thoroughly enjoy the environment here and intend to repay the coaches’ trust in me by working hard, continuing to improve and play my role in helping this team to achieve great things.”

Wane and Radlinski are working through their off-contract players as they begin to shape the squad for 2015.

Stand-off Blake Green, Kiwi back Anthony Gelling and centre Darrell Goulding all see their deals run out at the end of this season.

Wigan must also decide whether to take up the one-year options on Scott Taylor, Iain Thornley – who is out for the season with a pectoral injury – and Matty Bowen.

Australian No.1 Bowen revealed recently he had instructed his agent to speak to the club about possibly extending his stay.

Green’s representatives have also been negotiating, amid interest from Salford and enquiries from the NRL.

Radlinski says the capture of Williams to a long-term deal will influence which players they look to sign.

“He is an important part of the club’s future and we can now begin to recruit around George, knowing that he will be with us for a long time,” he said.

“With some players you know within minutes of seeing them that they have the necessary qualities to succeed.

“George has maturity and game sense beyond his years. We are all thrilled.”