Teenager Brad O'Neill on 'dream' Wigan Warriors chances
Brad O'Neill admits he has been living the dream after breaking into the Wigan squad.
The hooker - still 18 - has featured off the bench in the Warriors' last four matches since making a promising debut at Wakefield.
He was recalled from a loan spell at Widnes and drafted in by Adrian Lam when frontline players began dropping out of the squad.
O'Neill, who hails from Leigh, is set to keep his place for Friday's trip to Huddersfield.
He said: "Obviously it's a good feeling being in the squad and playing four games in a row, it's been a dream for me growing up.
"It came out of the blue a bit. I was playing for Widnes on the Sunday and afterwards Lockers (Sean O'Loughlin, assistant coach) called me and said, 'We will be bringing you back into Wigan there may be a chance for you'.
"I went back in the day after and Lammy said I may be playing against Wakefield.
"At Widnes I was playing against men so physically it's not too different to what I was used to, it's just a lot faster in Super League."
O'Neill caught Lam's eye playing for the academy in 2019 and had been invited to train with the senior squad.
But a serious ACL injury that July, when he had just turned 17, ended his season and last year his hopes of returning were hampered by the pandemic.
"I was nearing the end of my rehab when Covid hit, so my rehab got delayed," he said. "This year I was really keen to make up for some of that lost time."
As well as being a strong defender, O'Neill showed some of his subtle attacking skills on Sunday, with a deft pass to release Harry Smith late in the game.
"I'm still adjusting to the players around me, I think the more game time I get the more confident I'm going to get," added the ex-Halton Farnworth junior.
"However number of games I play this year, I'm just loving being involved."