Why Gelling is running hot!

Anthony Gelling crossed for the match-sealing try against Hull FC
Anthony Gelling crossed for the match-sealing try against Hull FC

Anthony Gelling may look to toast a Grand Final victory – with members of the ‘jacuzzi club’.

The Kiwi centre – a self-proclaimed ‘man of the people’ – is close mates with Warrington’s ex-Warriors Matty Russell and Jack Hughes.

And he even recruited Russell to help him install a hot-tub behind his home!

“But they’ve not been in yet,” said Gelling.

Asked if he would invite them after Saturday, he smiled: “I’ll tell them to come around, come and look at the ring collection!”

The hot-tub was being thrown out after a refurb’ at Warriors’ training base, when Gelling decided to rescue it from the scrapheap.

We were in the BMX club... but it’s the jacuzzi club, now!

Matty Russell

“We ended up filling it up with water in from his kitchen tap,” revealed Wolves winger Russell. “Then we worked out how to heat it, so we charged it up from his house in Beech Hill.

“It sounds luxurious, but it’s not at all! There are leaves in it and everything, but that’s Gells.

“We were in the BMX club... but it’s the jacuzzi club, now.”

Hughes admits he would accept an invite... but only if Warrington win Saturday’s decider at Old Trafford.

“I’ll bring the champagne,” the 2013 double-winning forward smiled. “Bubbly in the bubbles!”

In an era lacking characters and overloaded with cliches, Gelling is a breath of fresh air.

This is the player who famously charged down a penalty-attempt against Brisbane.

The bloke who overcame traffic problems on derby day by BMXing to the DW Stadium.... and then gate-crashed a fans’ party on his way home.

A picture of the delighted group is on his Instagram account... alongside a snap of him posing in the Wigan gym, wearing a crown and regal gown!

Gelling – who studies TV and film part-time – has also proved popular with his videos, either poking fun at Warrington’s ‘Smash the Pies’ promo or rapping about team-mate Ryan Sutton.

And last weekend, after swearing in a complaint about the video referee during a Sky Sports interview, he proclaimed: “I’m speaking for everyone. I consider myself a man of the people.”

But behind the colour and character is a real success story. Gelling was balancing a full-time construction job with playing for part-time outfit Auckland Vulcans when Shaun Wane offered him a chance to move to England.

His progression hasn’t always been smooth – Wane has described his form as “rocks and diamonds” – but this year, he has definitely been delivering more gems.

A physically imposing presence, he is one of the best centres in Super League.

“He’s a bit of a space cadet at times, but he’s actually a clever lad,” said Russell.

“And I’d say he’s one of the best centres in the competition.”

Gelling played a key role in guiding Wigan to a fourth successive Grand Final, not least the match-sealing try in the 28-18 win against Hull FC in the semi-final.

“It would mean a lot to go back through Auckland airport with the ring on my finger,” said the Cook Islands international.

“And the group we’ve got, we deserve to win.

“We’ve been consistently good since I’ve been here. You look at Saints, Warrington, even Leeds, they’ve all had a year off.

“But with all the injuries and new players we’ve still been up there, and we want the silverware to reflect that.”

Gelling has honoured a mid-season pledge not to cut his hair until the end of the season.

And now he wants to keep his Rambo-style look... but he expects team-mates may have other ideas on the end-of-year celebrations.

“I’m superstitious, I don’t want to cut it now,” he said. “On Mad Monday, someone will have some physio scissors... I’ll be back to the wall the whole night!”