What Wigan Warriors fans can expect from Jai Field on his debut
Zak Hardaker expects newboy Jai Field to give opponents the runaround in 2021... just as he does to his Wigan teammates in training!
Aussie Field, 23, is poised for his debut against Leigh tonight, either from the bench or possibly on the wing.
And Hardaker reckons the former Parramatta speedster has the potential to become a firm crowd-pleaser with his unpredictability.
“Jai’s a very skillful individual, very sharp, very quick,” said Hardaker.
“Sometimes it’s hard (in training) because you don’t know what he’s going to do so I can only imagine what it’s like for the opposition!
“He’s like Bevan French in the way he plays, he sees things other players may not see and goes for the special thing that other individuals may not do.
“When I may keep hold of a ball, he may give it, so he is exciting and I’m looking forward to linking up with him.”
Hardaker will revert to full-back for this evening's televised clash, their first competitive fixture since the 8-4 Grand Final defeat against St Helens nearly four months ago.
Asked whether the Warriors have a point to prove, the 29-year-old said: “I don’t think we do. I’ve seen some interviews and players feel they do, but I’m on the different edge. I’m as competitive as ever, but last year was pretty good.
“Covid messed up the whole world, never mind rugby league, and among that if someone said, ‘You’ll have the League Leaders’ Shield and get to a Grand Final and have a chance to win it. I missed a kick with four mins to go which could have changed the game – we took a lot of positives out of it.
“We were really encouraged by what we’d done that year. I don’t think it’s redemption, I don’t think we’re chasing anything, we’re really confident with what we’ve got at Wigan.”
Centre Oliver Gildart will not play because of a groin strain, joining Dom Manfredi and Liam Marshall on the sidelines, while Hastings has been given longer to get up to speed after a late return to the UK.
Similarly, French has not been considered due to his late return, after being given more time to spend with his family.
Wigan Warriors’ 21-man squad: Zak Hardaker, Jai Field, Tommy Leuluai, Brad Singleton, Sam Powell, Joe Bullock, Willie Isa, Liam Farrell, John Bateman, Oliver Partingon, Morgan Smithies, Tony Clubb, Liam Byrne, Harry Smith, Ethan Havard, Jake Bibby, Mitch Clark, Joe Shorrocks, Sam Halsall, James McDonnell, Umyla Hanley
Leigh Centurions’ 21-man squad: Ryan Brierley, Matty Russell, Iain Thornley, Lewis Tierney, Blake Wallace, Joe Mellor, Liam Hood, Mark Ioane, Ben Hellewell, Jordan Thompson, Matty Wildie, Alex Gerrard, Nathaniel Peteru, Matty Gee, Nathan Mason, Adam Sidlow, Tyrone McCarthy, Keanan Brand, Josh Eaves