ANTHONY Gelling has been tipped to become “The Beast” of Wigan’s backline.
Ahead of tonight’s home showdown with Widnes, Shaun Wane revealed the in-form three-quarter has agreed to stay with the club for a further two years.
And he says Gelling has been compared to former Kiwi centre Kevin Iro – by the man himself.
Wane said: “I asked Kevin for the next Kevin Iro, and he came up with Gells. It was a good recommendation.
“He’s here next year and the year after, and he’s nowhere near his best yet.
“There are still things he needs to get rid of.
“If he does than, he’ll be perfect for us.”
Gelling was one of Wigan’s stand-out performers in last Friday’s 46-6 triumph against Castleford.
He started the season as fourth-choice centre behind Iain Thornley, Dan Sarginson and Darrell Goulding and spent two months kicking his heels on the sidelines.
But he has clutched his chance in recent weeks, scoring five tries in 10 appearances, and is fulfilling the potential which Wane spotted in him when he was a part-time player in New Zealand.
“I saw footage of him, and he scored a freakish try in a cup final that no one else would have scored,” explained Wane.
“I thought he had something different. You could see he was talented, so I wanted to take a punt on him.
“He’s been really good for us recently. There are still a couple of defensive errors in him, but he’s an unbelievable athlete, a huge man – and the best thing is he’s still only young.”
Tonight’s encounter has been rearranged from round two, owing to Wigan’s involvement in the World Club Challenge.
With Leeds and St Helens losing last weekend, a victory for Wigan tonight would send them top of the Super League ladder for the first time this year.
“It would be nice, I’d rather be there than anywhere else, especially now we’re getting some players back,” said Wane.
“But I never really look at the league table, whatever happens, happens.”
Widnes are going into the game on the back of a 56-6 mauling by Hull FC last Friday, while the Warriors stormed past Castleford.
“We had a good win, they had a bad loss so we should go into it quite confident,” added Wane.
“I’d rather have it that way. Denis will be working hard to get some confidence into the team, but if we play like last week we should be okay.”