Shaun Wane has seen enough of young Aussie recruit Gabriel Hamlin to persuade him he will be pressing for an immediate place in the Wigan side next season.
Hamlin is only 20-years-old and did not crack into the NRL at former club South Sydney.
Wane has previously called for patience from the outset with some of his ‘project players’.
But after more than a week in training, he has a feeling his sole signing for 2018 could make an earlier impression.
“I feel differently about this one,” said Wane.
“I think he’ll play right away.
“Gabe seems quite accomplished – he’s a little raw, but he’s got attributes I like.
“He runs hard, he’s got good footwork, and he’s already shown he’s got a great attitude – he works hard and he’s competitive.
“He’ll play in the friendlies and we’ll see how he goes, but I can see him playing. He runs hard, he’s got good feet.”
Hamlin’s addition has added competition to a front-row department which has not had any departures, and will also be bolstered by Ben Flower’s return from injury.
Indeed, the Aussie appears to be in a similar mould to Flower – compact and barrel-chested – and he’s already impressed Wane with his work in training.
“He wrestled with Faz (Liam Farrell) and held his own... not many can do that,” said Wane. “He’s tough, and he’s loving his time here.
“He’s living with Joe Burgess, so we need to get him out!
“In all seriousness, Budgie has done a great job in helping him settle in.”
Hamlin, who has a British mum, has signed a two-year deal with Wigan.
Lewis Tierney is the only frontline player to depart in the off-season, joining Catalans where he finished last season on loan.
Fringe players Nick Gregson (Leigh), Connor Farrell (Featherstone) and Kyle Shelford (Swinton) also departed.