George can catch Saints by the hook

Wigan's George Williams is tackled against Wakefield
Wigan's George Williams is tackled against Wakefield

GEORGE Williams is ready to step up and play a more senior role as Wigan’s starting hooker – just three months after his first-ever game in that position.

And he is banking on the adrenaline of the big-match derby propelling him through to the end of tomorrow’s blockbuster against St Helens.

Williams – still only 19 - is a specialist halfback and only played his first game at dummy-half in March.

But with England No.9 Mike McIlorum out for two months with a broken arm and Logan Tomkins on loan at Salford until the end of the season, he has been left as Shaun Wane’s only viable option for the key position.

Williams said: “I see myself as a halfback but I don’t mind hooker.

“I just want to be in the team and if that’s where my chance is that’s where I’ll play.”

Williams, nursing an arm injury, is looking forward to the challenge of playing more minutes until McIlorum returns. “It’s tough, but in big games the adrenaline takes you through,” he said.

“When you’re with your team-mates you’re not thinking about being out of breath.”

The other contender to play hooker, Sam Powell, has been covering stand-off for the sidelined Blake Green.

Under-19s hooker Callum Wright has featured on the bench in the last two games, but Williams has proved before he can manage 80 minutes as a hooker, having achieved that feat against Leeds in the Magic Weekend triumph.