Wigan Warriors hooker Sam Powell has been granted a testimonial year by the RFL for 2023.
Powell will lead out his hometown club in a pre-season friendly against Salford Red Devils at the DW Stadium tomorrow (3pm kick-off) to begin his testimonial year.
This will be the Warriors’ final pre-season fixture ahead of the 2023 campaign and the game will see the full first team squad involved.
The 30-year-old hooker is a one-club man since arriving at the Wigan Academy from Wigan St Patricks ARLFC at the age of 16.
After making his try-scoring debut against Hull FC in 2012, Powell has cemented himself as a regular in the Wigan hooker position.
Winning five major honours so far, Powell made his 250th appearance for the club in Wigan’s final game of 2022.
His honours in a Wigan shirt include two Super League Grand Finals (2016 and 2018), a World Club Challenge (2017) and two League Leaders’ Shields (2012 and 2020).
Powell has also represented England, featuring for the Knights team and most recently the senior side – making his debut against Fiji in a World Cup warm-up match in September this year.
After signing a new two-year deal with Wigan in 2022, which will see him stay at the club at least until the end of 2024, Powell will celebrate his testimonial year in his 11th season as a professional.
On being granted his testimonial year, Powell told the club’s official website: “It’s going to be a special year for me, my family and friends. This will be my 11th season coming up and to spend such a long time at a special Club like Wigan is a real achievement.
“When I signed my last contract, I mentioned how important the Club is to me and my family. I’m very grateful for how supportive Rads and his staff have been.
“I will have a game against Salford on Sunday 5th February at the DW Stadium. To have the game at home is great and I hope all our fans get behind it. It’s going to be a special year.
“I’m very grateful for the committee I’ve got in place. They’ll be the backbone of this year being successful. My first job is to play well for Wigan. I’ll rip in when I get back in pre-season and I’m hoping it will be a very successful year.
“I hope the fans buy into it; I really appreciate the support. I was a fan before I started playing so I know what it’s like. A massive thank you to all my old teammates, staff and coaches – back in my amateur days too. My wife Ria has been on the journey with me. I’m hoping this season is going to be great.”
Now his teammate and Wigan’s new number 13 Morgan Smithies has paid tribute to Powell who he described as underrated.
“I think he is one of those players who is really underrated from the outside but the inside the coaches and the players think the World of Pow and everything he does for the team is highly respected by everyone.”