Wigan Warriors: Sam Halsall says he wanted to make the most of his first team opportunity against Castleford Tigers

Sam Halsall says he was pleased to feature for the Wigan Warriors first team on Thursday night after patiently waiting for the opportunity.

The centre came into the side for Jake Bibby, who missed the 32-22 victory over Castleford Tigers through illness.

Halsall states he was determined to make the most of the chance.

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He said: “It’s what I’ve been waiting for. The team has been doing well, so it was about biding my time, playing for Newcastle and the reserves, doing the best I can and hoping the opportunity would come soon.

Sam Halsall made his first start of the season for Wigan Warriors

“I’m glad it came around. It was a late call-up but I had made sure I was ready during the week.

“It’s always good walking out at the DW, it’s our home in front of our fans. As a young lad it's what you thrive to be doing. I got a few good games here last year, and obviously tonight, and hopefully it’ll keep going.

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“It was a good overall performance. In the first half we were really good. There was a little dip in the second but I think we addressed that as a team and we bounced back. We stuck together, and that’s what we talked about in pre-season.

“We had to keep each other reassured that we were good, because we were still winning and just needed to work hard. Our performance was based on effort and we delivered with that to come out with the win.”

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Halsall started alongside fellow centre Kai Pearce-Paul in the victory over Lee Radford’s side.

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He says he enjoyed being alongside players who he has come through the ranks with.

“It’s pretty special to be honest,” he added.

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“Me and Kai are very good friends off the pitch so it’s good for me, even if I’m not playing, to see him doing so well week in, week out.

“I also know people like Ollie P (Partington) and Ethan (Havard), who had his first game back and I thought he was unbelievable. It’s good to see my mates doing so well, because they’re the ones I’ve come through the system with.

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“The players like Marshy (Liam Marshall), Zak (Hardaker) and Tommy (Leuluai) are the ones we look up to. They lead us round the field. We are a very tight group this year, and I think that is showing when the times are tough.

“People were writing us off this week after the game against Catalans, but we came out and showed we were one team.

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Halsall says the dual-registration agreement with Newcastle Thunder and the return of the reserves competition have played a key role in preparing him for Thursday’s game.

“I think that was massive,” he explained.

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“I was speaking to Matty (Peet) before the start of the season and we said I was going to go to Newcastle. It was about me being match fit when the opportunity came.

“If this chance had come and I hadn't been match fit, I wouldn’t have performed.

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“The game was about me coming in and doing my part for the team. They had won four out of five coming into this match, so I had to do my bit and prove myself, which is how I feel when I want to take a chance.”