sport

Charnley committed to Wigan

Josh Charnley has pledged his commitment to Wigan amid speculation over his future with the club.

The two-time Super League top try scorer was dropped for last weekend's win over Wakefield following his erratic performance in the World Club Challenge defeat to Sydney Roosters.

The 22-year-old scored two tries in Sydney, but he came under fire for neglecting defensive duties and was replaced by youngster Dom Manfredi for Sunday's clash with the Wildcats.

Wigan coach Shaun Wane stated that Charnley "must learn to perform" before earning a recall, although Wane is expected to restore the England wing to his starting line-up for Sunday's fixture against unbeaten Castleford.

Charnley had been rumoured to be keen on a lucrative move to the NRL, with some reports suggesting he would consider following Sam Burgess into rugby union.

But in his column for the Manchester Evening News, Charnley blamed his performance against the Roosters on his lack of fitness following off-season hernia surgery, and he insisted he has no intention of leaving Wigan.

"Am I unhappy and want a new challenge away from rugby league like Sam Burgess does? Definitely not," he said.

"I am going nowhere. I love Wigan, I love the fans and I get a massive buzz from playing Rugby League. I am on a two-year contract and want to win more trophies after winning the double last season.

"Believe me, I have no plans or desire to go and play either Rugby Union or look at playing league in the Australian NRL. I have a job to do for Wigan and I have new goals to fulfil.

"It was obviously disappointing to be left out against Wakefield last weekend but we all need a kick up the backside from time to time. You get on with life.

Unfit

"I was not fully match fit when we played against the Sydney Roosters. I struggled a bit and was hoping for both a better result and performance.

"That was my first game since the World Cup semi-final last November. I now need games to get going again and to get back in the groove.

"The defeat over in Australia hurt all of us but, in spite of that disappointment, there is a good culture at Wigan right now. Losing in Australia is now behind us and we have moved on from it.

"To be in the side, you have to be at your best. I am facing keen competition from Joe Burgess, Dom Manfredi, Anthony Gelling and others but that's good. It helps keeps you sharp.

"Young Joe has done really well since getting his chance. He is a confident kid in the right frame of mind. We all cannot play all the time so it's vitally important to train hard and play well."

Charnley also declared his support for new signing Matt Bowen, who was also targeted for criticism following the heavy defeat to the Roosters last month.

"The knives have been out for Matty Bowen but I am not writing him off," Charnley added. "He is training superbly and is too good a player to either be knocked or unfairly criticised.

"It took the great Pat Richards a season to settle at Wigan and, don't forget, Matty is adapting to a totally different lifestyle and culture to what he has been used to in Australia.

"He will blossom but everyone needs to give him time. He is quality and is determined to reproduce the dazzling form he showed in the NRL."

Charnley is now focused on helping Wigan emulate their domestic double-winning campaign last year.

"Even though a number of key players have moved on, expectation levels are again high," he said. "The determination never disappears and each player has a part to play.

"I am certainly up for a repeat of last year's glory. I want a big year but right now, I just want to be out there doing what I enjoy and do best - scoring tries."