Hungry Shaun an inspiration

Brian Noble admits Wigan Warriors need to match young gun Shaun Ainscough's hunger if they want to land honours in 2009.

The teenage winger has proved a sensation this year, topping the Super League try scoring chart in his first full season in senior competition.

The 19-year-old can boast a dozen tries – nine of them in the league – from the same number of senior starts.

The Wigan coach said: "Shaun's progress has not surprised me one bit. He's done terrifically well.

"The rest of us probably need to get up to speed with his enthusiasm.

"He's a super young player and has set a superb example for us.

"He should be pleased because he has done everything asked of him.

"Shaun's a very destructive ball-carrier, causes problems all over the pitch, and is a fantastic finisher.

"Certainly, he would have played in the first team last season if he had not suffered an injury, and he has proved beyond doubt that he can

prosper in the senior ranks."

Noble added: "Don't forget he has been playing at the highest level with England juniors for some time, touring Australia with the Under-18s squad, where he forged a powerful reputation.

"While he has done very well, there are elements of his game that he needs to work on but I'm delighted with his application."

Noble rested Ainscough for Sunday's 44-10 romp against bottom club Celtic Crusaders – while Wigan's other rising star Sam Tomkins had to be content with a place on the bench.

However, Tomkins came on to score two second-half tries after coming into the fray for Mark Riddell just before the half-hour mark, and he helped Wigan run in nine tries to equal their win over Bradford earlier in the season.

Noble said: "Both the young blokes, Ainscough and Sam Tomkins are going really well for us.

"But it is very important we don't overexpose them and they don't go backwards when things aren't going their way.

"Like Shaun, Sam has done terrifically well too.

"The prerequisite for any player making it at the highest level is attitude and both of them have a terrific attitude to learn and succeed."

Both look likely to play a role at Wakefield on Sunday, where Wigan face a stern test as they go in search of their second win in seven days.

Noble received a boost this week with scrum-half Thomas Leuluai agreeing a new three-year deal with Wigan.

"Sunday will be a massively tough game," said Noble.

"But morale is good and we just need that level of consistency in our play.

"If we can find that, then we can start to make more steps forward."