Strange this one. A couple of days before the club announced that Andy ‘Big Guns’ Powell was crossing over to the dark side with Wigan Warriors, I picked up a rumour to this effect, How very strange that only 4 weeks before he was talking openly about hoping to sign a contract extension with Sale where, for my money, he has had a very positive impact during his time there. Although he has been restricted to 12 starts this year, his Man of The Match performance against Sarries in the LV Cup semi-final simply typifies his totally committed approach to the game
Even stranger then that, whilst Sale were announcing it, Wigan were refusing to pass any comment and maintained that stance for a number of days!!
The BBC reported on 12 March that Andy Powell hoped to sign a contract extension, then Steve Diamond said he hoped to keep him prior to Sale’s announcement that he was leaving on 9 April. I was with my family for the home game against Gloucester and we bumped into Andy on his way in the players entrance, although he wasn’t playing. He graciously stopped for a brief chat and photo with us and, whilst he was very careful and diplomatic on talking about leaving, we all got the impression that he had wanted to stay but hadn’t been offered anything attractive and was, frankly, very disappointed.
I know he has previously talked about the possibility of switching codes but, with the Sale pack starting to look a little lightweight, his physicality and ability to gain the hard yards will, I fear, be sorely missed, along with the vast experience he brings from playing at the top international level. Opinion I have gathered amongst fans I have spoken to is also one of bewilderment at the way the whole thing has been played out. I just hope that there are some strong forward signings on the way shortly.
Talking to a neighbour who is also a Sale fan – he also follows Widnes Vikings for some strange reason – he opined that Wigan wanted him to replace the slightly controversial figure of Gareth Hock, who has been on loan at Vikings following a disciplinary record that a younger Powell would have struggled to match, and that may now be vindicated as Hock is off to ply his trade on the other side of the world. Powell and Hock are very similar power players and I am sure Andy will be a very positive move for the Warriors. We all wish him well.