Shaun Wane is confident Wigan will head into next season with a “good goal-kicker” – but he is unsure who it will be.
Matty Smith’s move to St Helens last week has left the Warriors short of a first-choice goal-kicker. Josh Charnley, who can also kick, has moved to Sale Sharks and another player with a solid boot – Ryan Hampshire – is poised for a move to Leigh.
Wane has drawn up a shortlist of four possible candidates for the crucial role in 2017 – Jake Shorrocks, George Williams, Sam Tomkins and the returning Thomas Leuluai – and is open-minded to other players stepping into the role.
He plans to bring in a goal-kicking coach in the off-season to work on their skills.
Wane said: “We’ve got some good kickers in the team already, they’ve just not practiced it too much because we’ve had other players here who have been kicking.
“Jake, George and Tommy are all good kickers, and I remember Sam Tomkins got us a draw at Leeds with a great goal, so we’ve got a few options already with players who can strike a ball well. We’ll bring another goal-kicking coach in and spend some time with them, and whoever is the best will kick.
“I’m not obsessed about it. We’ll pick the right one and he’ll rep it, and we’ll go into next year with a good goal-kicker.”
Of those shortlisted, 20-year-old Shorrocks is a fine kicker but he has not nailed down a regular spot in the side, while Tomkins is sidelined through injury.
Smith’s move to St Helens was confirmed last week despite weeks of denials.
He succeeded Pat Richards with the goal-kicking role in 2014 but was often criticised for his inconsistency.
“It was hard on Matty because he didn’t really want to do it, he got a bit of stick, but he kept turning up and practiced a lot,” added Wane.