Wane’s plan to help players kick on

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SHAUN Wane plans to use more than one goal-kicker in 2016.

The Wigan coach says he has learned lessons from last season, when Matty Smith’s form improved when he relinquished the kicking duties to Matty Bowen midway through.

He currently has four players in the mix to start the year with the role, and a fifth - Sam Tomkins - will enter the frame around Easter time.

Smith may indeed get the nod with the goal-kicking but Wane said: “Smeegs’ form picked it up when we took that off him last year, so (sharing the role with Bowen) did work well.

“So I still want everyone practising throughout the year, so one man won’t have it every week until the end of the year.”

George Williams, Sam Powell and Josh Charnley also practiced their kicking during a three-day training camp in Wales at the end of last week.

“We’ll have a competition soon and the best man gets the job (for the start to the season),” added Wane.

Charnley and Powell may get the first shot to stake their claims for the gig in Sunday’s first hit-out of the year, a friendly at Leigh.

Wane will also see his troops face Salford in a friendly before the Super League season begins in less than four weeks.

It doesn’t necessarily mean the role will be shared from a pool of five players on a week-to-week basis; there may only be two or three comfortable - and competent enough - with the duties, and take it for a few weeks at a time.

Bowen departed at the end of last year and another kicking option, Ryan Hampshire, is spending this season on loan at Castleford.

Smith took over the role when Pat Richards departed at the end of 2013, and has struck 209 goals.

Charnley (91 goals), Tomkins (35) and Williams (11) have also kicked for the club.