Why Wigan Warriors fans should keep an eye on Kai Pearce-Paul
Adrian Lam is poised to unleash an X factor forward on Salford Red Devils tomorrow.
Kai Pearce-Paul, 20, is in the squad and likely to play after Willie Isa was ruled out and Morgan Smithies is a major doubt with an ankle injury.
The towering back-rower was signed from London Broncos more than 18 months ago and is a highly-rated prospect.
He made his one and only senior appearance in a young side beaten by St Helens last September, and Lam said: “If Morgan doesn’t play then Kai will come into that line-up.
“He’s a player I’ve been holding back, he’s very exciting for the fans and all of Super League to watch, I think he’s go a big future ahead of him
“He’s been like a wild dog on a short leash, hopefully we can get him off that lead and attack – and you’ll see one of the next ones coming through.”
Pearce-Paul pinged on Wigan’s radar with some destructive displays for the London academy side.
And Lam predicts he will give their attack another dimension.
“He’s a big body, he’s 6ft 5in, mobile, agile, lanky arms, great footwork, got an offload, hard to contain – we struggle to contain him in training,” said Lam.
“I know when we named him in the squad the boys cheered loudly, because they know what he’s capable of doing. Hopefully if he gets selected this week it’ll be the start of many to come.
“Kai is certainly one to keep your eye on because he definitely has that X factor about him.”
Lam was pleased Smithies avoided a major injury after limping out of Monday’s 30-16 win at Leigh, while Isa suffered a cork in his calf.
“We’ll check on them but it’s a short turnaround,” said Lam, who yesterday named an unchanged provisional 21-man squad.
“If they’re not 100 per cent, it’s probably a week to not pick them and the players who come in will do a job.”
Saturday’s non-televised game kicks off at 1pm and 400 Wigan fans will be able to watch it live – their first game in more than a year.
Their match at Leigh on Monday had a limited crowd of home fans.
“It was brilliant, I heard every part of the abuse every step of the way,” smiled Lam.
“It was nice to have some atmosphere, the players commented on it and I’m just pleased fans are back.
“It’s what we play rugby league for. You can hear every bit of shouting. When Leigh got on a roll it felt like the stadium was full."