Hoffman lends his local knowledge to Wigan's tilt at slaying Dragons

The Warriors' Australian import knows what it takes to win a World Club Challenge, reports Dave Hadfield

Big match experience comes in many forms. For Ryan Hoffman, it means playing in as many World Club Challenges as he has had competitive matches for Wigan.

Hoffman is part of the shockwave from the Melbourne Storm that promises to wash ashore and make Wigan, the holders of the Super League title, even better this season.

He and fellow-travellers Brett Finch and Jeff Lima represent the fall-out from the biggest scandal in rugby league for years. The Storm were heavily fined and stripped of the Premierships they won in 2007 and 2009 for systematically cheating on their salary cap.

Hence the wanderings of the Melbourne Three as sacrificial victims whilst their club has tried desperately to reduce its wage bill. Hoffman played in those two Grand Final victories and the verdict on his club has not extinguished his pride in the achievements.

"As far as I'm concerned, I won two Premierships. I was there when the trophy was handed out and I've got the photos to prove it," he says.

Those two successes led to two World Club Challenges – a loss to Leeds in 2008 and a win over them last year – and if his third tilt at that trophy has come in unexpected circumstances, he is determined to make the most of it.

"I know from coming over here before that it's a big experience and that it's a great thing to be able to call yourself world champions," he says.

Of the Melbourne Three, only Hoffman has the chance to do that with a second club when Wigan face St George Illawarra tomorrow night – Finch is injured and Lima suspended.

"I'm disappointed for both of them, but it feels a bit strange to me as well, because I've only just arrived." Coming to Wigan was not quite a leap in the dark for the Kangaroo second-rower, because it reunited him with former Melbourne assistant coach Michael Maguire. He admits, however, that he knew little about some of his younger team-mates – and that has made him all the more impressed now that he has had a game or two alongside them.

"I hadn't heard much about Liam Farrell when I came out here, but whether it's training or playing, the guy is just relentless. I thought Josh Charnley was absolutely fantastic for us in Cardiff. He was really unlucky to be left out the week after, but that just shows the competition for places. And I've been really impressed by Michael McIlorum, his pace, ball skills and his sheer tenacity."

How much of the future development of those players he will see is unclear. He has signed initially for only one year at Wigan and there is a theory that he is keeping a shirt warm for the return of Gareth Hock from a drugs ban and that he will be back in the bosom of the Storm next year.

For as long as he is here, he has much know-how to pass on, not least about this week's opposition. "They're a proud team, but you would expect nothing less from a Wayne Bennett side. They are very, very persistent. They just keep turning up for each other, play after play."

Speaking before Bennett's dash back to Australia due to family illness, Hoffman raised half an eyebrow at the strategy of staying in London until Thursday and not playing a warm-up. "They will have had their own reasons for doing it that way," he says.

Hoffman picks out the centre partnership of Matt Cooper and Mark Gasnier as a particular danger. "They are as good a pair as there's been in Australia for a long time," he says. "But Martin Gleeson and George Carmont aren't exactly mugs either."

Maguire is waiting for Gleeson's fitness test on a tweaked hamstring, but fully expects him to be fit. "Having Glees out there makes a hell of a difference," he said.

With Nick Emmett ruled out, Bennett's stand-in, Steve Price, has named 13 members of last year's Grand Final-winning squad in his 17.

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Life and Style
fashionHealth concerns and 'pornified' perceptions have made women more conscious at the beach
Arts and Entertainment
tv
News
media
Sport
Ojo Onaolapo celebrates winning the bronze medal
commonwealth games
Arts and Entertainment
High-flyer: Chris Pratt in 'Guardians of the Galaxy'
filmHe was homeless in Hawaii when he got his big break. Now the comic actor Chris Pratt is Hollywood's new favourite action star
Sport
Van Gaal said that his challenge in taking over Bobby Robson's Barcelona team in 1993 has been easier than the task of resurrecting the current United side
footballA colourful discussion on tactics, the merits of the English footballer and rebuilding Manchester United
Life and Style
Sainsbury's could roll the lorries out across its whole fleet if they are successful
tech
Travel
The shipping news: a typical Snoozebox construction
travelSpending the night in a shipping container doesn't sound appealing, but mobile crash pads are popping up at the summer's biggest events
Arts and Entertainment
'Old Fashioned' will be a different kind of love story to '50 Shades'
film
Arts and Entertainment
Tracey Emin's 'My Bed' is returning to the Tate more than 15 years after it first caused shockwaves at the gallery
artTracey Emin's bed returns to the Tate after record sale
Arts and Entertainment
Smart mover: Peter Bazalgette
filmHow live cinema screenings can boost arts audiences
Environment
Neil Young performing at Hyde Park, London, earlier this month
environment
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

Save the tiger: The animals bred for bones on China’s tiger farms

The animals bred for bones on China’s tiger farms

The big cats kept in captivity to perform for paying audiences and then, when dead, their bodies used to fortify wine
A former custard factory, a Midlands bog and a Leeds cemetery all included in top 50 hidden spots in the UK

A former custard factory, a Midlands bog and a Leeds cemetery

Introducing the top 50 hidden spots in Britain
Ebola epidemic: Plagued by fear

Ebola epidemic: Plagued by fear

How a disease that has claimed fewer than 2,000 victims in its history has earned a place in the darkest corner of the public's imagination
Chris Pratt: From 'Parks and Recreation' to 'Guardians of the Galaxy'

From 'Parks and Recreation' to 'Guardians of the Galaxy'

He was homeless in Hawaii when he got his big break. Now the comic actor Chris Pratt is Hollywood's new favourite action star
How live cinema screenings can boost arts audiences

How live cinema screenings can boost arts audiences

Broadcasting plays and exhibitions to cinemas is a sure-fire box office smash
Shipping container hotels: Pop-up hotels filling a niche

Pop-up hotels filling a niche

Spending the night in a shipping container doesn't sound appealing, but these mobile crash pads are popping up at the summer's biggest events
Native American headdresses are not fashion accessories

Feather dust-up

A Canadian festival has banned Native American headwear. Haven't we been here before?
Boris Johnson's war on diesel

Boris Johnson's war on diesel

11m cars here run on diesel. It's seen as a greener alternative to unleaded petrol. So why is London's mayor on a crusade against the black pump?
5 best waterproof cameras

Splash and flash: 5 best waterproof cameras

Don't let water stop you taking snaps with one of these machines that will take you from the sand to meters deep
Louis van Gaal interview: Manchester United manager discusses tactics and rebuilding after the David Moyes era

Louis van Gaal interview

Manchester United manager discusses tactics and rebuilding after the David Moyes era
Will Gore: The goodwill shown by fans towards Alastair Cook will evaporate rapidly if India win the series

Will Gore: Outside Edge

The goodwill shown by fans towards Alastair Cook will evaporate rapidly if India win the series
The children were playing in the street with toy guns. The air strikes were tragically real

The air strikes were tragically real

The children were playing in the street with toy guns
Boozy, ignorant, intolerant, but very polite – The British, as others see us

Britain as others see us

Boozy, ignorant, intolerant, but very polite
How did our legends really begin?

How did our legends really begin?

Applying the theory of evolution to the world's many mythologies
Watch out: Lambrusco is back on the menu

Lambrusco is back on the menu

Naff Seventies corner-shop staple is this year's Aperol Spritz