LEWIS Tierney is counting the days until he can play again after a five-month spell without a game – despite being fully fit.
The utility back hasn’t played a match at any level since last July.
The opportunity is there and I’m getting head down and doing what I can in training and got to take it into the games.Lewis Tierney
He fell victim to harsh rules governing dual-registrations – preventing week-to-week ‘loan’ arrangements from the start of the Super 8s.
And because he was too old for the Under-19s, he was left kicking his heels in frustration.
“It’s been a while,” he said. “It was the end of July when they had that cut off, so it’s good to get back in knowing the system’s changing and (my prospects are) looking a lot brighter.”
The planned creation of a new reserve competition should prevent players being left in limbo again.
But Tierney is also expected to be much more involved in the first-team set-up in 2016 following the departure of winger Joe Burgess, who has not been replaced.
“It depends on me now,” said the academy product. “The opportunity is there and I’m getting my head down and doing what I can in training and got to take it into the games.”
The 21-year-old will start the year as third-choice winger behind Josh Charnley and Dom Manfredi, although he is also in the running, along with centre Dan Sarginson, to cover at full-back until Sam Tomkins is fit around Easter.
“The pecking order doesn’t mean much with Shaun Wane, he’s said to everyone, if you’re playing well it doesn’t matter what squad number you are,” added Tierney, who played once in the last two seasons and three games in the double-winning 2013 campaign.
“I really don’t care where I play, wing, full-back... I’m comfortable anywhere.”
Team-mate Ben Flower has been impressed with the way he has grabbed his chance.
“Fair play to Lewis, he’s worked really hard and Waney has believed in him and he’s getting a fresh start,” said the Welsh prop.
“Hopefully he’ll impress and add to the competition.”
Meanwhile, ex-England winger Charnley says boxing training in the off-season has left him better prepared to make his mark in 2016.
“When you’re in the ring you are totally on your own,” he told League Weekly.
“If you are in a hole there is only you who can get yourself out of it so it teaches you to be mentally strong. I think it has really helped me.”