WIGAN players were surprised to see Dan Sarginson shortlisted for Super League’s young player of the year award - because they thought he was too old!
The 21-year-old joined the club from London Broncos this season and has blossomed in the left centre role.
“When I told a few of the lads I’d been put up for this award, they said, ‘I thought you were 28!,” revealed Sarginson.
“Because I’ve not come through the academy, they think I’ve been around a while.... I’ve heard a few ‘long paper-round’ jokes.”
Sarginson is on a three-man shortlist with Castleford’s Daryl Clarke and Leeds Rhinos stand-off Liam Sutcliffe for the young player gong.
Wigan captain Sean O’Loughlin joked: “What is Sarge, 30 or 31?
“He’s matured this season, he was in and out at the start, but since the midway point his form has been brilliant.
“His game has grown, he’s got people who help his game but he trains hard, he’s ruthless on his game in terms of his professionalism, and I think he’s been one of the best centres in the league.”
The list was drawn up by the RFL’s performance department - surprisingly, there is no place for Wigan’s 19-year-old winger Joe Burgess.
Sarginson’s form earned him a place in the England train-on squad for the Four Nations.
“I’m not really expecting to go, but I just want to play my best and try and prove I’m up there,” he added.
“There are still areas of my game I need to work on. Waney wants me getting forward and hitting people, I was a bit passive in defence before, and I need to improve that.”
Sarginson will discover whether he has won the young player prize at the Super League awards dinner which will culminate in the Man of Steel presentation.
Clark, Warrington’s Chris Hill, Leeds’ Jamie Peacock and St Helens hooker James Roby have all been nominated for the sport’s most prized individual honour, which is selected by a poll of the players. The award is handed out three days before the Grand Final.
Wigan face the Wolves on Friday night, with a place at Old Trafford up for grabs.
FORMER Warriors forward Stephen Holgate sparked concern among family and friends after going missing for several hours over the weekend. The Cumbrian – who won a Grand Final with Wigan in 1998 - was later found ‘safe and well’, said police.