Shaun Wane is hopeful disgraced prop-forward Ben Flower will be able to regain his best after the Welshman returned to the Wigan Warriors squad.
Flower, 27, was handed a six-month ban for punching St Helens’ Lance Hohaia in the opening two minutes of last season’s Grand Final.
But he has now served his suspension, and Wane has included him in the squad to face Warrington Wolves at the DW Stadium on Thursday evening.
“He’s trained really well, I can’t wait to put him in.” said the head coach.
“He just wants to get back to what he’s paid to do which is playing rugby and being one of the best middles in the competition.
“We need a Ben Flower in our team. He’s dynamic, just what I like, he runs the ball hard and he’s uncompromising.
“I want him to just carry on from where you left off, in the play-off games last year he was one of the best. I want him back to that form as quickly as possible.”
Flower’s punch was undoubtedly the most controversial incident in Rugby League last term, with the prop becoming the first ever player to be sent off in a Grand Final.
However, despite some questioning if the ban was severe enough, Wane is adamant that Flower has served his time.
“He did what he did,” added Wane.
“He let his team-mates down and we lost a Grand Final through it. If he’d stayed on we’d have won by 30 points and that, in itself, is a lot for a player to carry, but he has carried that, and he now just can’t wait to be back.”
Wane also commented on the possibility of Sam Tomkins- who announced his departure from New Zealand Warriors last week – returning to the DW, after the 26-year-old reportedly told a radio station down-under that it was likely he would be back at Wigan next year.
“I’ve not heard anything, I’m not on social media,” added Wane.
“Whether he’s been misquoted? I don’t know why he’s said that.
“He’s a great player but I’d like to have Greg Inglis as well – but I’m not going to get him – I think any coach in Super League is interested in the world’s best players.”
Main image courtesy of Super League TV via YouTube, with thanks.