George Williams is looking forward to the “challenge” of striking up a new halfback combination with Thomas Leuluai.
The Kiwi international has returned to the club after four years away as a replacement for Matty Smith, who has moved to St Helens.
As much as I loved playing alongside Matty, it’s a new challenge with a different halfback partnerGeorge Williams
Both returned to full training last week after being given extended breaks following their involvement in the Four Nations. Williams said: “We’ve a new partnership to get going. He’s a world class player who has proved himself at the highest level.
“He puts his body on the line, and is very skilful as well.
“As much as I loved playing alongside Matty, it’s a new challenge with a different halfback partner.”
Williams broke through into the Wigan side in 2013 – the year after Leuluai returned to old club New Zealand Warriors.
“But I came up for a few training sessions when he was still here,” revealed Williams.
“I was only a kid, there was him, Brett Finch and Matty here too, and it was good – all part of my learning curve.”
Leuluai says the new halfback partnership shouldn’t overshadow the importance of working on combinations with other players, particularly on his edge.
“It’s more than just George and I,” he said. “If the whole team is in sync, it makes it a lot easier.
“I know people like saying things like, ‘The halves aren’t combining’, but often it’s the players around them not being on the same page, rather than just the two players.”
Williams made his England debut in 2015 – the year he was named Super League’s Young Player of the Year – and backed it up with a stellar campaign last season.
He kept his place in the international fold, playing against Scotland and coming off the bench against Australia but missing out in the Four Nations opener against the Kiwis.
“Obviously I wanted to play every game, but that’s the same as every player,” he said. “I enjoyed it under Wayne Bennett, it’s nice to hear different coaching methods, and I thought I gave a reasonable account of myself.
“You go into these camps and you can be quite daunted, especially as the youngest, but it was a great experience.”