Mathers ready to put injury hell behind him and inspire Warriors

Last updated at 22:31 24 January 2008

Richie Mathers hopes to play his first game for nearly eight months in Wigan's

pre-season friendly at Widnes on Sunday.

The Warriors full-back

was one of the

brightest talents in

Super League until he

suffered two cruciate

knee ligament injuries.

The second, last June,

came after a move

from Leeds Rhinos to

Australia's NRL with the

Gold Coast Titans.

Now with Wigan, the


three-year contract depends

on how many

appearances he makes

in the first year.

'I can't wait to play,' he


'I have done all the

hard work and both my

knees feel great. I have

done everything

possible to get fit, so

I'm okay mentally, too.

'I'm excited about

playing for Wigan and

wearing the No 1 jersey

that belonged to Kris

Radlinski, one of my


Mathers, who helped

Leeds to win the World

Club Challenge in 2005

after lifting the Grand

Final trophy the

previous season, said

coach Brian Noble was

a key factor in his

return to the UK.

'Brian has made me

feel wanted again and I

can't wait to do a job

for him and for Wigan.'