When a player shines in the lower grades of an English competition, the interest the player creates increases and as a result, Super League sides come knocking and try to get their hands on the talented players, with the Wigan Warriors succeeding in doing just that.
Sam Hopkins, 23 and from the Leigh Centurions side, has taken up a 2-year deal with English Super League side Wigan, and there is also a further option for 2016.
The addition of Hopkins to the Wigan pack is one that coach Shaun Wane is pleased with given the talent of the utility forward, and Wane admits he was a player the club had their eye on for a while.
â€œWe have been keeping an eye on Sam for a while and have been impressed with what we have seen,” said Wane.
“He is tough and runs hard and I am confident under the guidance of our quality back room staff, he has both the ability and passion to become a success as a full time professional. It is a big step for him to make the move from the Championship but he is very determined and driven, and just the sort of player I enjoy working with.â€
Hopkins, who has enjoyed his time at Leigh, says the opportunity is a great one for him and says after learning of Wigan’s interest, the final decision was an easy one to make.
â€œThis is a fantastic opportunity for me and I am really looking forward to joining Wigan for the 2014 season,” said Hopkins.
“The Warriors are the biggest Club in Super League and when I learned of their interest in me and the chance to progress my career with them, it was an easy decision to make.
â€œIâ€™d like to thank everyone who has played a part in my career to date from my days as an amateur with the Leigh East Club to present day working with a fantastic Coaching Staff and an inspirational group of players at Leigh.
I am looking forward to the remainder of the season with the Centurions and can assure everyone of my going commitment to try and achieve success Viagra with them for the remainder of the current season.â€
Whilst disappointed that a talented player is leaving the club, Paul Rowley, the head coach of the Leigh Centurions side is at the same time happy that Hopkins is realising his potential at a club like Wigan.
â€œI am delighted to see Sam realise his goal of playing Super League and becoming a full time player,” said Rowley.
“Sam has been very consistent and tireless in his efforts to continuously improve his game, and his ability to absorb information and apply it under pressure is exceptional. I am sure a full time environment will have a huge benefit to Sam progressing physically and mentally, thus enabling him to perform in the country’s elite competition.”
“I am pleased to have had the pleasure of working closely with Sam from the start of his career and can assure Wigan that they have acquired not only a quality player but more importantly, a quality person.â€
Derek Beaumont, the Leigh Centurions Football Director also wished Hopkins all the best and believes he can become a successful player in the Super League.
“This is a fantastic achievement by Sam and one he fully deserves for his commitment and effort which have been evident during in his time with our club,” said Beaumont.
“I believe in a full time environment Sam will progress into a top quality super league player. What pleases me most, is this clearly demonstrates the pathway for our communityâ€™s young players and identifies the fact we have the right facilities and coaching structures to produce players capable of playing at the highest level.”
“I would like to credit Leigh East for their role in Sams development and also thank them. As an ambitious club ourselves going forward, it is our goal to be competing for players like Sam and to be able to retain the services of players we develop, however, we must accept our current position and build on this to achieve our long term goals.
I would also like to thank Wigan for the professional manner in which they have dealt with this matter and wish them every success with Sam’s further development.”