GARETH Hock is shedding the pounds – to try and help him get back to his blockbusting best.
The former Test forward has stripped 5kg from his hulking frame as he prepares for the kick-off of the new Super League season in less than a month’s time.
He reckons slimming down will improve his chances of reclaiming the form which helped him terrorise opposition defences.
Hock returned from a two-year doping ban last June and showed flashes of his old self, off-loading the ball in tight situations, skittling defenders with his barnstorming charges and even scoring a hat-trick in a home win against Wakefield.
But by his own admission, he never scaled the heights of past campaigns and believes playing at a more “comfortable” weight could prove the key.
He said: “Last year, I think I came back too big.
“I was 110kg, and I want to be down to 105kg, which I’m much more comfortable at. That’s my aim and I’m nearly there.
“Last year I just felt I was carrying too much weight, which meant I was blowing after a bit.”
Hock only played nine occasions last term, the end of his campaign cut short by a suspension for gouging Warrington’s Ben Harrison a week after being left out of the Challenge Cup-winning Wembley side.
He has apologised for that controversy, which rules him out of next Sunday’s friendly at Hull KR, and is determined to put that behind him as he looks to re-establish himself as one of the genuine stars in the Wigan line-up.
Shaun Wane has already handed him the No.12 shirt – a clear indication that he sees him playing in the second-row, rather than at prop where he figured for Michael Maguire last year.
And Hock added: “I’m looking to play more minutes in the games this year.
“If Waney wants me at prop I’ll play there, but I’m more comfortable in the back-row and I think that’s where he sees me playing.”