SHAUN Wane has poured praise on hard-hitting forward Liam Farrell, labelling him the best back-rower in Super League.
Farrell has been in blistering form in Wigan’s first four games of the season – scoring in three of them and picking up the man of the match award against Warrington.
With the 2013 campaign still young though, Wane doesn’t want to put too much pressure on the 22-year-old but believes he is the most consistent of his kind around.
“I would rate him really highly and I know so would other Super League players,” said the Wigan coach, who has helped nurture Farrell since he was in Wigan’s academy.
“For me, and I’ve watched every Super League game so far, he’s the best I’ve seen. But I know there’s some great quality with the likes of Ben Westwood and Jon Wilkin.
“I do think, as consistency goes, he’s been consistently the best back-rower in every game I’ve seen.”
The best thing about Farrell, Wane believes, is the fact that there is so much more to come.
With Gareth Hock departing before the season got underway, Farrell has seized his chance. He is hitting form at the right time too, with the Rugby League World Cup just months away and Wane reckons he has a real shot at getting in the squad.
“He’s a great kid, really shy ever since he was a youngster,” he added. “It’s only now he’s stopped going bright red when I talk to him!
“He’s got a real chance of getting into the World Cup squad. I can say this though – hand on heart, he’s nowhere near at his best yet. He’s still learning but it’s different at this level.
“It’s complex but he’s not as good as he can be.
“So if he can still improve and he can be as good as he wants to be then it it’s an absolute dream to coach.
“He wants to get better and he has desire and that little bit extra that makes a real top pro different than anyone.”
Wane will name his 19-man squad today (Friday) for the game at Castleford on Sunday.
Centre Darrell Goulding will come back into the frame but Paul Prescott, Epalahame Lauaki, Harrison Hansen and Lee Mossop all out.
Mossop was the latest to be ruled out after dislocating shoulder.
Wane said: “He was probably the form front rower of the competition so it’s a blow to us, there’s no doubt about that.
“It gives chance for the likes of Dom Crosby and Scott Taylor, who wasn’t playing in that game because he needs to play better, and for all those front rowers to come through and stake their claim.
“Lee Mossop will be back for the big games at the end of the year.”