Jake Shorrocks has vowed to “make a mark” on the Wigan team after making his return from nearly a year on the sidelines.
The 22-year-old played around half-an-hour of Sunday’s friendly at Leigh, and marked his comeback with the match-sealing try in the 22-14 win.
It was Shorrocks’ first appearance in a Wigan shirt since hobbling from the pitch at Widnes last February with a serious knee injury.
Asked could he now draw a line under the saga, he replied: “Now I’ve played, yes, definitely.
“When you’re injured, everything is on hold, but now it feels as if the last 11 months haven’t happened.
“It feels like everything is back to normal now.” Shorrocks made 12 first-team appearances during his breakthrough season in 2016.
He had a regular role on their charge to the Grand Final, only missing out on Old Trafford when Sean O’Loughlin made a surprise return from injury.
Wigan signed him up to an improved, longer-term deal– an indication of their faith in him – before injury stalled his promising career.
He said: “I need to get up to match-speed and match-fitness, I need to play in games because you can only replicate so much in training.
“It’s a big year, I need to try and make a mark.
“I got a good run in 2016, I felt I was getting better and more confident each game, and I want to push on this year.”
Shorrocks is a halfback but made most of his 12 first-team appearances as a bench hooker, and proved an excellent goal-kicker with eight from nine attempts. Shaun Wane operated a fluid ‘spine’ to his side at Leigh, with Sam Tomkins and Sam Powell both switching positions during the match.
Such a ploy would suit Shorrocks, given his ability to play at halfback and hooker, and he would appear next in line should Powell, Tomkins, Thomas Leuluai, George Williams or Morgan Escare suffer an injury, suspension or dip in form.
“There are loads of options and that’s good for Shaun,” added Shorrocks.
Wane admits he already knows his 17-man squad for their Super League opener at Salford on February 2.
He may give one or two of those frontline players a few minutes of game-time in Sunday’s friendly at Swinton, but the bulk of the squad will be fringe players and Under-19s who have missed the cut.
Wigan are staging a launch party at Revolution, on King Street, from 7pm this Thursday. Sky Sports’ Jon Wells will host the event, and legend Martin Offiah will play a DJ set. Tickets are £40 which includes food.