Wigan Warriors' Liam Marshall discusses the key moments that put him on the right path in rugby league
Wigan Warriors’ Liam Marshall says he didn’t always have the right mentality when it came to rugby league.
The winger admits he would often be focusing on alternative career paths during his time with the reserves.
Ultimately a couple of lifelines gave Marshall the belief that he could be a Wigan player.
“I came into the academy system quite late,” he said.
“After a year I was told they wouldn’t be keeping me on, but I got a lifeline and stayed on for a season.
“At the end of that I was told again I wasn’t going to be kept, but was given another lifeline by the reserves system.
“There were times when I was close to stopping and I didn’t have the right mentality.
“It wasn’t down to a lack of effort, but rugby wasn’t the number one thing for me at the time because I had it in my head that it wasn’t going to be my career.
“My reserves contract was more like a hobby, playing part time and getting a bit of extra money.
“My main focus was finding a job and at training my mind was probably elsewhere.
“It probably helped me in the long-run, but if I could go back now I’d give myself a little push in the right direction.
“I went to play for Swinton in 2016 and luckily had a good year. It really helped to mature me as a player.
“They had a good group of lads there, and I didn’t have too much pressure on me.
“They played some good rugby which suited my game, I just enjoyed it really, testing myself every week against men.
“It was a moulding period that helped me in the right direction.
“I remember driving home, and my agent rang to say Wigan wanted to offer me a full time contract.
“It came as a bit of a shock, and it was only then I thought ‘I’ve got to give this a real crack and see what I can make of it.’
“Before that I was sort of distant with rugby so that chance sort of helped things to click in my head as I knew it was my last chance.
“I was just lucky a few coaches backed me and pushed my name forward.
“It does give a greater appreciation of where you are and what you are doing, so I’m very thankful.
“I was quite lucky with how I got into the team.
“I had a good pre-season, and I was named in the first few squads as 18th man.
“I warmed-up in the World Club Challenge against Cronulla, which felt special because it was such a big occasion.
“A few players picked up injuries in that game, and the week after, so then I played.
“If that didn’t happen, I might’ve not got a chance that year.
“I had a decent year in my first season and kicked on from there.
“Things could’ve panned out a lot differently if those things didn’t happen and I didn’t take my chance. We could be having a different conversation.
“It’s just interesting how it all fell into place.”