Gabe Hamlin has revealed the secret behind his improving form - home truths from his mum!
The Australian prop, 21, has strung together a run of impressive performances during Wigan’s unbeaten Super-8s run.
And he credits the opinions of those closest to him for his decision to strip 5lbs from his compact frame so he can bring more energy to the side.
Hamlin said: “I feel like I’m slowly finding my stride.
“I think it was the St Helens game at home (in July). My family said afterwards, ‘You looked a bit sluggish’ - they’re very honest with me.
“My mum said, ‘Good game, but...’ – and when the ‘but’ kicks in I know something is coming. If they say, ‘you went alright’, I know I played average!
“I watched the game back and I agreed. I wasn’t quick enough. So I’ve done some extra fitness, I’ve lost 2kgs and I’m down to 97kg, and I feel it’s working for me.
“I’m feeling better out there, more energised, and hopefully my game will get better and better.”
Fans have certainly been impressed by the impact made by the player nicknamed ‘The Hammer’, applauding his contributions when he has come off the bench - and they will be hoping for more of the same against Warrington at the DW tonight.
“People say we lose a bit when Lockers (Sean O’Loughlin) comes off, and we do,” said Hamlin, who arrived in the off-season from South Sydney.
“So if I can try and replace a bit of that, my job is done. I want to bring energy to the side - I don’t want people to think, ‘Who’s just come on?’
“But the fans have been great with me, they’ve made me feel so welcome and I really appreciate it. When Warrington have beaten us, they’ve beaten our middles. We’ll go out there and be physical and if we can beat their middles and challenge them, we should be able to win this game.
“We’ve had a good roll and if we want to play well, we need to keep that consistency going.
“You can’t play a good game against Warrington, have two bad games and then expect to play good in the semi-final. It doesn’t work like that.”
Hamlin, meanwhile, has been provided with an extra incentive to tighten his spot in the side ahead of the semi-finals.
“My dad and brothers surprised me this week - they’re flying over for the semis,” he added. “My mum is staying home, it’s a boys’ trip for the semis and hopefully the Grand Final - four of us staying in my two-bed apartment, which should be interesting - I’ve not seen my brothers in a year so it’ll be good to spend some time with them.”