Wigan Warriors' Kai Pearce-Paul talks form, chances.. and a sin-binning
Kai Pearce-Paul is pleased he’s been given the green light to continue - and has no doubts Wigan can snap their losing run.
The 20-year-old forward admits he was surprised to be sinbinned during the Warriors’ last game, a 24-6 defeat at St Helens.
He charged down kicker Lachlan Coote and though he was committed, referee James Child could be heard telling the captains he had been punished for not trying to wrap his arms around the Saints man.
Players including Sam Tomkins questioned the decision and coach Adrian Lam was seeking clarification, saying he thought there was “nothing illegal at all”.
The match review panel decided not to charge Pearce-Paul over the incident, though he was issued a caution, making him free to play his fifth game in a row when Wigan host Huddersfield on Sunday.
“I must have watched it back 100 times and I can’t see where I went wrong,” said Pearce-Paul.
“At the time, no-one was mad at me, I was thinking there was nothing it in, and I got a yellow card for it.
“I saw some of the tweets afterwards from some players saying they can’t see what was wrong. But I can’t put it on the ref, he’s got a lot going on and he’s got to go with his gut instinct, I was just glad I didn’t get charged or banned.”
While Pearce-Paul is happy to get his chance in Lam’s side, he shares his team-mates disappointment over a losing run which has seen them drop from top spot to sixth.
But the ex-London Broncos academy ace has no doubt they can turn their fortunes around.
“I can tell you, hand on heart, our morale is really high,” he said. “There were bits in the St Helens game and the one before that when we saw what we used to be, and it’s about us performing like that for 80 minutes.
“We feel in good shape, everyone is confident, we know how much talent is in the squad and what we can do and hopefully you’ll see that against Huddersfield.”
Pearce-Paul, who debuted last year, has certainly shown highlights of his capabilities in recent weeks, his controlled offloads providing Wigan with an extra attacking threat.
“He’s a brilliant player, a nightmare trying to tackle,” said centre Oliver Gildart. “He causes us so many problems in training. He’s definitely a big player for the future.”
Coach Adrian Lam first noticed Pearce-Paul playing for the Broncos youngsters ahead of their first-team game in the capital in 2019. “He was making a fair bit of an impact in the game,” recalls Lam. “From that moment, we chased him and he’s been close to being a regular here for a long time.
“It was hard when he’s been behind the likes of Farrell, Bateman and O’Loughlin last year.
“His time was going to come at some stage, it was forced because of injuries, and he’s already respected by his peers.
“Super League should be excited about him going forward because he has something that a lot of teams don’t have. We’re excited he can bring that to us.”