LEWIS Tierney is hoping have a trick up his sleeve when he returns to action on Sunday after six months on the sidelines.
Despite being fully-fit, the 21-year-old hasn’t played since June because of the current dual-registration system, but is set to make his return to the fold in this weekend’s friendly against Leigh.
Full-back Tierney was one of the principal victims of the system last year, which Warriors chairman Ian Lenagan described as ‘a shambles’ to Wigan Today yesterday.
And as well as being on hand to share a card trick at Warriors’ media day yesterday, he spoke of having to kick his heels on the sidelines during the final months of last season.
“It’s shocking. Last year was ridiculous. My last game was in June (on dual-registration for Workington Town) last year,” said Tierney when asked about the system, which doesn’t allow dual-registered players to represent two clubs once the Super 8s begins.
“I was fully fit to play the rest of the year but it was shambles.”
It’s what you train for every day and what you wake up thinking aboutLewis Tierney
Having made just one appearance for Wigan in 2015, on the wing in the Easter Monday loss at Salford, Tierney is expected to be handed a chance to prove himself at full-back during the opening weeks of the 2016 season.
With first choice full-back Sam Tomkins ruled out until Easter, and youngster Ryan Hampshire on loan at Castleford, Tierney is hoping to make the most of his chance.
“I’ve finally got an opportunity so I’ll be looking to get my hands on the ball and show what I can do,” he said.
“I had one game last year which I thought I did alright in but I need to get some game time under my belt.”
Despite his one appearance for Warriors first team being on the wing in 2015, full-back is Tierney’s prefered position, and four of his
five Super League appearances to date have been in this position.
He has been working in the role at training, and admits he is excited by the prospect of a prolonged run in the first team.
“Fingers crossed,” he said when asked about being selected. “I’ve been doing it all pre-season (training at full-back) and getting the hang of it – it’s exciting isn’t it?
“This chance is massive – that’s what you want to do.
“It’s what you train for every day and what you wake up thinking about.”
Despite explaining his frustration with the current dual-registration system, Tierney did point out some benefits to his appearances for Workington Town last season.
“Obviously you want game time,” he said. “Going out on dual-reg was a good thing for me. I learned a lot going up against bigger bodies.
“The Championship is tough but everyone wants game time.”
Following Warriors’ pre-season friendlies, against Leigh on Sunday and Salford next weekend, Tierney is in the frame to be thrust into Super League action when Catalans Dragons visit the DW Stadium on February 5.
And the Warriors academy product will be particularly keen to impress against former Warriors team-mate Pat Richards.
Tierney explained: “I used to train with Pat in my first and second year so it will be good to go up against him.”