Wigan Warriors' Willie Isa 'has learned from ban'
Willie Isa will return to the Wigan squad a better player for his suspension.
That's the bold prediction of coach Adrian Lam, who has welcomed the 32-year-old back from a four-game ban.
Isa was punished for two incidents in a loss to St Helens when he admitted he allowed emotions to get the better of him. He later apologised to fans, team-mates and his opponents.
And Lam is confident Isa - one of his stand-out players this year - will have learned lessons from his enforced absence.
"The conversation I had with Willie was a couple of days after the game, because we had to see whether we wanted to fight the charges," Lam said.
"In that conversation, there was a chat about the control he'd lost, given how he is one of our leaders.
"There was a sharp conversation and it was quite clear that he was sorry to the rest of his team-mates for his actions that day and from that moment on he's taken ownership of that.
"He's been punished, but it'll make him better. He's been outstanding for us this year and I'm really proud in how he's turned around as a leader within this group. Him coming back is what we need at this time of the year."
Lam isn't going to try and taper Isa's aggression, but says he just needs to add "some smarts" to his approach.
"There's nothing he needs to change too much apart from making sure he's in control of his emotions. His intent and aggression is what we want from him and hopefully, that doesn't change, he's just a bit smarter. He's learned his lesson and I'm sure it won't happen again."
Although Isa is returning, Lam is considering resting some key players for next week's play-off match, with his provisional squad named later today.